Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on Wednesday assured the public on the sufficiency of the country’s oil supply amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Cusi, however, cautioned against the inevitability of domestic price spikes, reflecting 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,” Cusi said at the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum with Marichu Villanueva.
Cusi renewed his appeal to everyone “to observe energy efficiency and conservation measures during this critical period.”
The Russia-Ukraine situation, Cusi said, further underscores the importance of attaining energy security and independence for a country like the Philippines.
“Our country, as an importer of petroleum products, is again at the mercy of global price movements. We must work towards decreasing our dependence on others for our energy needs,” he stressed.
Cusi said the DOE has been pursuing various measures to address the soaring prices of oil products.
For a short-term solution, he said the DOE has been in constant coordination with oil companies for promotional programs that extend fuel discounts to the public transport sector.
He said the implementation of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s P2.5 billion “Pantawid Pasada Program” in the 2022 budget and the Department of Agriculture’s P500 million fuel discount program for farmers and fisherfolk would also help mitigate the impact of the oil price hikes.
He said the proposed amendment of the Oil Deregulation Law; suspension of the excise tax on fuel; establishing the necessary Strategic Petroleum Reserve infrastructure; ensuring Minimum Inventory Requirements; and strong campaign energy efficiency and conservation are among the long-term measures to address the problem.
“The recent directive of President Duterte has been very clear — facilitate the smooth transition of programs to the new administration. This is what the DOE has been doing. All of these developments have been put in place to pave the way to a better energy future which the new Secretary of Energy could build upon,” Cusi said.