Senator slams oil companies

October 21, 2010

Efren L. Danao
The Manila Times
October 21, 2010

A senator on Wednesday rapped the “insensitive” oil companies for raising their prices by 50 centavos a liter while citizens are still reeling from the devastation wrought by Typhoon ‘Juan.’
“That is insensitive and uncalled for—it’s like rubbing salt to our wounds,” Francis Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, the chairman of the Senate committees on agriculture and on social justice, raged on why the oil companies had to announce their price hike so soon.

“Now’s a time when we all need to work together to rebuild after the world’s worst storm of the year. To even consider raising prices now is bordering on the criminal,” he said.

Pangilinan added that the oil companies should have taken pity of the people who are still trying to cope with the onslaught of super Typhoon Juan instead of thinking about raising the price of their products.

The senator said that he would look into crafting legislation that would prohibit price hikes during times of calamity.

“We should prevent corporate abuse, especially when consumers are at their most vulnerable,” Pangilinan added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ralph Recto also on Wednesday urged the immediate passage of a bill providing for full crop insurance coverage to agrarian reform beneficiaries.

He issued the call on reports that Juan had destroyed at least 10 percent, or about 105,000 metric tons of rice in Cagayan Valley.

Recto said that typhoons exact a great toll on farmers and that a law providing full crop insurance coverage to farmers should have been enacted after typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng devastated farms last year.

“Now, with the most powerful storm in recent memory ravaging our croplands in Northern Luzon, the passage of this measure now becomes mandatory,” he added.

Recto noted that only a small number of farmers avail of crop insurance because of the high premium that they are required to pay.

He proposed that the government fully subsidize the premium for agrarian crop insurance to ensure full coverage for agrarian reform beneficiaries.
“We should not wait for the next super typhoon to again ravage our farmlands and leave our farmers with nothing but the prospect of a bleak future. Our farmers need all the assistance they can get,” Recto said.

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