Lacson urges gov't to brace for Russia-Ukraine war's impact on PH cost of living

Published February 26, 2022, 2:07 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Partido Reporma standard-bearer Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Saturday, Feb. 26 said Filipinos must anticipate the cost of living to get more expensive in the coming days with oil prices soaring at over $100 per barrel and stock markets facing increased volatility amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukranian capital of Kyiv (Unsplash)

In an interview with DZRH radio this morning, Lacson mentioned he would be convening members of his economic cluster right away to discuss how to cushion the indirect economic impact of the war in eastern Europe on the Philippines had he been the one in the shoes of President Duterte.

“Sa tingin ko pwede na ipatawag, especially ‘yung ating economic managers, ‘yung economic cluster. Kasi nga anticipate na natin ‘yung magiging epekto sa ating ekonomiya, lalo pa nga’t nasa pandemya pa tayo, hindi pa talaga nakaka-recover, especially ‘yung mga MSME natin (I think we can summon the members of our economic cluster, especially our economic managers, because we have to anticipate its potential effects on our economy not to mention that we are still in the middle of a pandemic, we have not yet fully recovered, especially our MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises]),’’ he said.

The presidential aspirant said Filipinos might feel the pain of the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine on the prices of basic commodities and services, which are always affected whenever oil prices are going up due to the costs of transportation.

“Doon na makikita natin ang tama niyan sa pangkaraniwan nating mga kababayan, hindi lang transport sector kung hindi ‘yung mga commuter, kasi sa ngayon may nag-pe-petition na ng taas ng pasahe (That’s where we would feel its impact on our ordinary citizens, not only the transport sector, but also the commuters because right now there are petitions already for fare hikes). Tapos, siyempre, ‘yung presyo ng mga goods at saka mga services tatamaan din kasi gumagamit lahat ‘yan ng langis (And then, of course, the prices of goods and services will be hit as well because they are using fuel),’ Lacson explained.

“‘Yon ang ano… Although hindi nga direkta ‘yung tama pero talagang tatamaan tayo kasi hindi lang naman Pilipinas, buong mundo nararamdaman na ‘yung nangyayaring invasion doon sa Ukraine (Those are [the unintended consequences]. Although the effect is not direct, we will feel it, not only the Philippines but the entire world is already impacted by the ongoing invasion in Ukraine),’’ the Partido Reporma chairman added.

Lacson, meanwhile, commended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin for spearheading the efforts to move over 300 Filipino nationals out of harm’s way in Ukraine days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military offensives in the former Soviet republic.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is trying to help Filipinos caught in the crossfire in the affected cities of Ukraine to get across its border on Poland, where their eventual repatriation will be arranged. This exit plan was drawn after Ukrainian airports were closed due to the ensuing conflict.

“I just hope na walang masaktan. Kasi nasa mga more or less 300 lang naman yata ‘yung mga kababayan natin pero maski isa lang ‘yung kababayan natin, obligasyon natin na ilikas sila sa lugar na ligtas (I just hope no one gets hurt. Because even if we say we only have more or less 300 countrymen there, or even if we only have just one, it is our obligation to evacuate them to safer locations),’’ Lacson said.

Lacson was speaking in his capacity as a potential future president and incumbent chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation abreast in managing geopolitical risks.