Bilyonaryo Ramon S. Ang revealed that Petron, Shell and Caltex have lost 40 percent of the fuel market to new players which he sarcastically attributed to their “very, very efficient operations.”
In a brief appearance at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee via Zoom, the Petron chairman, president and CEO said the Big Three can’t afford to compete with the new players who were selling gasoline and diesel at least P10 below the oil giant’s retail prices.
“I think mababa yung overhead siguro new players kaya nakakabenta sila on an average P10 per litro ng gasolina or diesel. For your information, gasoline excise tax and VAT is about P16.70 (per liter), diesel is about P11.41. But the new players, on average, they give P10 per liter cheaper all over the country,” Ang told lawmakers who are moving to remove excise taxes on oil to lower fuel prices.
Ang said there was no point in removing excise taxes and create a big hole in the government’s revenue because the new players have solved the problem of high fuel prices with their inexplicable ability to sell gasoline and diesel at a huge discount anywhere in the country.
“Kung naghahanap tayo ng solusyon paano natin matulungan yung mga jeepney driver, taxi driver or bus, eh yun na ang sagot. Doon na sila bumili. Transport companies, jeepney drivers, taxi drivers or bus drivers, they don’t buy from Petron, Shell or Chevron. If at all, bumibili sila konti, para lang may resibo sila. By and large, they buy from the new players kasi the new players have very low overhead, very very efficient. That’s why they are able to sell on an average P10 per liter cheaper than us,” said Ang.
“Kasi kung pasu-suspend natin yung excise tax tsaka VAT sa Philippine government, I think alam naman natin yung
ating budget deficit, wow, hindi na natin kaya. P5 to P6 trillion of debts in the last five years. I think government cannot afford to suspend taxes,” he added.
A lawmaker, who apparently failed to get Ang’s allusion to rampant oil smuggling, asked him why the new players were “very efficient.”
“Hindi ko na pwedeng sabihin pa bakit sila ganoon ka-efficient. Kayo na ho nakakaalam noon. Kasi sinabi ko naman sa inyo, napakagaling nila. Kasi oil is deregulated. Everybody imports their own gasoline and diesel.
Everybody puts up their own port everywhere. So napakaraming imported oil and diesel all over the country, nobody can monitor them. So therefore, they are very efficient. Napakababa ng selling price nila tuloy. That’s why inaagawan na kami ng market share,” said Ang.
Unlike the new players, Ang pointed out that Petron and other oil giants were subject to microscopic monitoring by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Energy.
“When we bring in our crude oil, it’s only in one drop, one area, which is the Bataan refinery. In fact, BIR is already stationed there full time. So every shipment of ours is being monitored and computerized.
Whatever actual cost of the world market, kino-compute yun ng DOE, ‘yun ang binabayaran naming tamang presyo. At yun namang pagbebenta namin, napakababa lang ng kita dahil we are facing stiff competition from new players,” said Ang.
Ang said a number of mayors like Maria Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City called him up urging him to lower Petron’s pump prices in their city by 10 per liter or equal to the price of new players.
And he would tell them: “Yung problema sinagot mo na rin. Ituro mo lahat ng jeepney driver, taxi driver, bus driver, public transport, tricycle, to buy from new players. Eh di solve na tayo, wala na tayong problema.”
“I think all of you (mayors) know that. Kung may nagsabing I don’t think so, ituro sa akin yung probinsya o lugar niya, kung yung new player hindi nagbaba ng P10 and I will tell you which station sells at P10. Pero of course di na natin ituturo sino-sino yun, pero alam niyong lahat yun,” he added.