SEVERAL party-list groups have vowed real sectoral representation in Congress by pushing for laws that are consequential to their respective movements.
Newcomer Pasahero, a group that aims to represent public transport riders, will press for the restoration of the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) to cushion the impact of rising oil prices on commuters.
Pasahero party-list founder Robert Nazal, speaking in Filipino in a radio interview, said the fund will be a tool wherein government “will set aside money which will be demanded while the price of oil is low, then this will go to (public) funds… Now, in the event that the cost of oil rises, we will draw from those funds and we will subsidize the burden of our people.”
Under the OPSF, which was abolished in mid-1996, the government ended up owing up to P5 billion to oil companies.
The Downstream Oil Deregulation Law or Republic Act No. 8479 was passed two years later, removing government control over pricing, exportation, and importation of petroleum products, and allowed market forces to dictate oil prices.
Pasahero party-list will also push for a review of the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, citing that certain oil companies have the tendency to implement new oil prices on old stock. The group will also support calls for the suspension of fuel excise tax.
Mr. Nazal added that the country should have a strategic oil reserve. “In my opinion, we really should have a strategic oil reserve, and the government itself should make its own infrastructure for the strategic oil reserve so that we can have our own inventory.”
Meanwhile, Anakpawis party-list, which currently has no seat in Congress, will push for the refiling and passage of bills that seek to benefit agricultural and labor sectors.
“We have numerous legislative agenda per sector under Anakpawis,” former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel B. Casilao said in a Viber message last week.
“For the farmers, Genuine Agrarian Reform bill is the priority. For the fisherfolks, Genuine Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Reform bill. For the workers, Regularization bill (and) National Minimum Wage bill. For the urban poor, repeal(ing) of the UDHA Law and proposing a Public Mass Housing Bill.”
The Marino party-list, a group that represents seafarers and won three seats in the 2019 elections, said that they will refile bills that were intended to benefit maritime and overseas Filipino workers if reelected.
“Marino party-list plans (the) refiling of these bills: Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers of 2019, Unhampered Crew Change Act, Maritime Safety, Security and Prevention of Ship-sourced Pollution Act of the Philippines; (and) Mandatory OFW (overseas Filipino workers) Health Immunization Act,” Marino said in a text message through their media handler.
The group said the bills were not passed because of opposition from some stakeholders.
“Delay is due to opposition from stakeholders. And the fact that we have a bicameral legislature,” Marino Party-list said. “We can only endorse, which we did, to a co-equal branch of the government.” — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan