By Hannah Torregoza
President Rodrigo Duterte is strictly monitoring the events and situation in the Middle East and has called for a meeting with the nation’s security officials to assess the likely impact of the tension between the United States and Iran to the country.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, a close ally of the President, disclosed that the Chief Executive has called for a meeting with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Sunday afternoon to gauge the effect of tensions in the region on the country and Filipinos.
“Hintayin natin an gating pamahalaan, lalo na kung anong security (measures) ang gagawin nila (Let us wait for the government, especially on what security measures they will employ),” Go said in an interview at the sidelines of his visit to Quezon City fire victims.
“Nagpatawag na si Pangulong Duterte ng meeting kasama ang chief of staff ng AFP kung ano ang magiging epekto nito sa ating bansa at sa ating seguridad (President Duterte has called for a meeting with the AFP Chief of Staff to discuss the possible effects of this tension with our country and our security),” he further said.
Go assured that the government will work to ensure the security of Filipinos in the country and the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East, as the President is “very conscious and aware” of what is happening in that region.
“Sisiguraduhin ng Pangulo ang seguridad ng bawat Pilipino hindi lamang sa bansa kung hindi pati na rin ‘yung mga nasa Middle East (The President will ensure the security of each Filipino not only in the country, but also those in the Middle East),” he reiterated.
Tensions are currently high in the Middle East region after a US air strike on Baghdad’s international airport in Iraq killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
Meanwhile, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III urged the government to closely monitor the world oil prices as the tension between US and Iran continue to escalate.
Pimentel said the Department of Energy (DOE) should “strictly watch the oil price movement globally,” especially with respect to Philippine sources of crude oil.”
“Crude prices keep surging and it could batter our economy,” said Pimentel, who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee.
“The government must study and seriously consider securing new sources of our crude oil. Spiking oil prices have led to recessions in the past. Mabuti nang advance mag-isip so that we are prepared,” he said.
Pimentel said the government should consider getting oil from Russia, which he said, could further strengthen bilateral and economic relations between the Philippines and Russia.