President Rodrigo R. Duterte has called on Congress to review the oil deregulation law and consider giving the government intervention powers in view of the skyrocketing prices of oil due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles announced Wednesday, March 2, 2022, that the government is seeking authority to intervene when there is a spike and/or prolonged increase in prices of oil products.
Malacañang is also seeking the inclusion of the minimum inventory requirements in the law and a review of the provisions on unbundling the price.
Nograles said the President has also approved the implementation of a P2.5 billion Pantawid Pasada Program and the P500 million fuel discount program for farmers and fisherfolk.
The Department of Energy (DOE) was also directed to continue to monitor the country's oil supply and ensure that there will be no short selling,
DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, for his part, assured the public that the country has sufficient oil supply, but said domestic price spikes are inevitable as these reflect the upward global market movements.
“We are not lacking in supply given that we source our crude oil requirements primarily from the Middle East, and finished products from Asia-Pacific. However, the impact of the Ukraine crisis on international oil markets does have a direct effect on our prices. This is why we continue to appeal to everyone to observe energy efficiency and conservation measures during this critical period,” Cusi said in a statement.
Other DOE recommendations approved by Duterte on March 1, 2022:
Establishment of the strategic petroleum reserve infrastructure;
Ensuring minimum inventory requirements; and
Advocating for energy conservation and efficiency.
The President thumbed down the recommendation to suspend the excise tax on fuel.
On the other hand, Nograles said the government is ready to implement the Price Control Law.
The President also approved the recommendations of the economic team to strengthen the economy, stabilize prices, provide social protection and explore diplomatic channels to help resolve the conflict.
Boost local production through the Plant Plant Plant campaign part 2;
Increase rice buffer stock to a minimum of 30 days;
Distribution of financial assistance to rice farmers;
Distribution of fertilizer subsidy;
Boost research to lower prices of feeds;
Provide logistical support to facilitate transport of products;
Deploy Kadiwa vans and trucks;
Accelerate of renewable energy adoption; and
Support investments in renewable energy and modern storage facilities for oil.
Meanwhile, Nograles said the police and military have assured that they have prepared contingency plans. (Marites Villamor-Ilano/Ventures Cebu)