The first attempt by Congress to deregulate the oil industry was in the passage of Republic Act No. 8180. This law was, however, struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it does not truly promote competition – the fundamental principle espoused by the Constitution.
In 1998, Congress passed Republic Act No. 8479, now known as the “Downstream Oil Deregulation Act.” The law opened the opportunity for many small and independent refillers and marketers in the LPG sector. The LPG in cylinders sold by these independent players are priced lower compared to the brands sold by the oil majors.
LPG Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) was organized in order that its members will have a common voice and representation on issues that affect the industry. LPGMA has been invited in discussion groups before the Department of Energy in order that its position may be heard. In the process, LPGMA has evolved into a group advocating the need of the consuming public to have access to lower-priced LPG and for them to choose to purchase any LPG brand.
The year 2009 was a turning point for LPGMA. A bill had been passed in the House of Representatives with that would have the effect of closing down the establishments of independent LPG players and hand back control of the LPG sector to the oil majors. LPGMA and its allied group, LPGRA, lobbied hard in the Senate to oppose the passage of the law. Congress has now adjourned without the LPG bill being approved. It will not be surprising if the bill will resurrect in the next Congress.
LPGMA forthwith sought accreditation with the Commission on Election to be registered as a sectoral organization for the purpose of participating in the May 10, 2010 elections under the party list system. Its principal advocacy is protection of the right of the ordinary consumer to have access to reasonably-priced LPG and, also, to exercise their freedom to choose to buy any brand of LPG that is available in the market. LPG is such an important commodity that affects a great number of the Filipino population. Consumers need to elect representatives to Congress to protect their interest.