With the newest wave of oil price increases, gasoline prices have once more approached the P60 barrier, and have raised concerns about what the government is doing to alleviate the situation. However, the usual catcalls and cries of protest coming from the Left aren't particularly helpful. It does compel me to think about what can be done to solve the problem of high oil prices.
It's useless to return to the days of government subsidy and the illusion of cheap gas. The government will simply wind up throwing money down a huge gaping pit, from which there will be no end. The government would be better off using those resources to find ways and means to create opportunities for our countrymen to rise up from poverty.
Transportation strikes are also not helpful, since they have a stronger impact on the commuting public rather than sending a message to the government. By stranding commuters, the transportation groups do not generate any sympathy for their cause, and may run into trouble regarding their franchises, since they are a public service. However, transportation groups may point to today's fare increase (P 0.50) as a direct result of their transportation 'caravan' (they seem to be loath to label it a strike.), and claim some form of victory.
Another issue is the burden of the value-added tax (VAT) on gasoline, upon which, apparently, an excise tax is already being levied. The government can claim that the VAT is needed for it to provide services to the public, but, unless the government shows any concrete proof of the VAT's positive effect on government services, the removal of the VAT from gasoline products could provide needed relief for Filipinos.
Lastly, I wonder if any audit of the oil companies, especially the Big Three (Shell, Petron, Chevron), can be done to determine whether, in fact, the oil companies are pricing their products fairly. It seems to me that, when oil prices go up, the oil companies are quick to jack up their prices, but, when the oil prices go down, they hem and haw and cite catchphrases like "underrecoveries" to explain their hesitance to lower prices. Perhaps an audit of their books is in order to see whether they've been fair or whether they've been screwing the public via their profiteering.
The main problem of our country is that we do not have any oil resources of our own, and we are subject to the ever-changing landscape of geopolitics; the current oil problem appears to be primarily due to tensions in Iran over its nuclear program. Unless we can acquire resources of our own, or aggressively look into alternative sources of fuel, we will be powerless to do anything about high oil prices.