Palace: Gov’t may allow cheaper diesel imports

Published September 24, 2018, 4:48 PM

by Patrick Garcia


By Genalyn Kabiling

The government may allow the importation of dirtier but cheaper diesel if the world oil prices continue to increase, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque  (Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
(Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque however made clear that the importation and sale of such diesel variety could only be temporary in a bid to protect the country’s environment from dirty fumes.

“Uulitin ko po iyong pagtaas po ng presyo ng langis, hindi po natin kontrolado iyan. Pero gumawa na po tayo ng hakbang, sinabi na natin na mag-aangkat tayo ng mas murang diesel [I repeat we do not control the increase in oil prices but we have taken steps including importation of cheaper diesel],” he said during a Palace press briefing.

“Pero sa tingin ko po kapag talagang lalo pang tumaas ang presyo, eh wala na tayong choice ‘no, kinakailangan nating mag-angkat ng mas mura, albeit mas maduming langis. Panandalian lang naman po iyan. Dahil alam naman natin na kinakailangan pangalagaan talaga ang ating kalikasan [But I think if prices will further increase, we will have no choice but to import cheaper albeit dirtier fuel. That will be temporary because we know we must also protect the environment],” he added.

Roque insisted that the government does not control fuel prices amid the recent spike in product prices.

He said the government earlier initiated the importation of cheaper diesel but could not import a huge amount due to lack of storage facilities.

Roque said importation of cheap oil was among the measures considered by the government, aside from the importation of rice, to mitigate the impact of high inflation.

“Dahil alam natin na kapag tumaas ang presyo ng krudo at langis, tataas talaga lalo na ang presyo ng pagkain [Because we know that every time oil prices increase, the prices of food also rise,” he added.

On calls to repeal the excise taxes on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), Roque said a suspension provision kicks in when the price of Dubai crude oil reaches a certain level.

“Kung talagang lumala po ang presyo at tumaas pa rin ang presyo ng krudo, kahit sino po walang magagawa dahil nasa batas iyan. Masususpinde po ang pag-collect ng excise taxes,” he said.

The TRAIN law has a provision that would suspend the next increase of fuel excise tax if the Dubai crude oil would reach $80 per barrel.

The government earlier announced it was looking at sourcing petroleum products outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) such as Russia to build reserve and ease the impact of rising prices.