Gatchalian calls on gov’t to cushion impact of oil price hikes

Published February 25, 2022, 12:53 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday called on the government to formulate measures aimed at cushioning the possible impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on the country’s oil prices.

“As oil pundits would say about oil prices – it’s 80 percent speculation and 20 percent actual prices. As economies open because of the rapid decline of COVID-19 cases, consumption of oil will increase and therefore, price will also go up,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“This is aggravated by the uncertainty created by the invasion of Russia into Ukraine considering that Russia is a major global oil and gas supplier,” added the senator, who is seeking reelection in the upcoming May 2022 elections.

Gatchalian said that even if Russia is not a supplier of oil and gas to the Philippines, the global supply disruptions will cause oil prices to escalate in the short to medium term.

To this, the lawmaker said the government should monitor global oil prices closely, which may escalate in months to come due to uncertainty.

“We may need to suspend excise taxes as the last resort,” Gatchalian said.

“There is no overnight solution to reduce oil prices in our country. The only way to do that is to reduce our dependence on imported oil by exploring more domestic sources of oil and gas and transition in electric vehicles in the years to come,” he pointed.

The Senaet Committee on Energy chief, likewise, urged the government to immediately implement the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) for the country’s public utility drivers.

“Use e-wallets to deliver cash instantaneously, extend PP to food transporters, use e-wallets as well,” he said.

He also called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to formulate contingency plans in case of supply disruptions.