Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, today expressed his full support to President Noynoy Aquino’s move to scrutinize the records of oil companies.
“The President has the political will when it comes to investigating the mighty oil companies. We should not allow these oil giants to make indecent windfall profits from the misery of our people,” Zubiri said further adding that Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras’ firm stand in monitoring oil price increases weekly is also commendable.
“We should support President Noynoy in this endeavor to curb the increase in pump prices and we urge him to include among his programs the use of alternative fuels such as Compressed Natural Gas or CNG of which we have an abundant supply. What is needed are additional pumping stations all over Metro Manila and major cities in other regions experiencing even higher petroleum prices,” Zubiri, principal author of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, explained.
Zubiri further urged the Aquino administration to remove customs duties and taxes on the importation of electric cars which are being mass produced now in Japan and U.S. For instance, he said, Nissan’s Leaf and similar cars can be made available to the public at reasonable prices if their imports are duty- and tax-exempt.
“The President can allow CAMPI (Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc) to import these electric vehicles tax-free in order to sell it at lower prices. These electric cars and jeepneys utilize zero amount of fossil fuel. These will help clean the air of Metro Manila as they have zero emission and therefore causes zero pollution,” Zubiri added.
Aside from electric cars, e-jeeps are already available in the country in the five-kilowatt models, although manufacturers are planning to come out with a 7.5-kilowatt variant that can travel up from Metro Manila to Tagaytay or Baguio. The e-jeep powered by an electric motor with 12 six-volt lead acid batteries can carry 14 passengers running at 40 to 60 kilometers per hour. The price range is at P625,000 to P700,000.
“Although e-cars cost as much as luxury vehicles, removing import taxes and duties on green cars will make them affordable to the public and encourage the use of environment-friendly modes of transportation,” Zubiri said.
He also called on the DOE to study the proposal to amend the oil deregulation law saying that the unabated oil price hikes have rendered the law ineffective in reining in petroleum prices to reasonable levels.
“It has been 13 years since R.A. 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act was enacted. We need to revisit and review it to make it more responsive to the needs of the public,” the solon from Bukidnon said.