Senator Win Gatchalian urged the government to prepare for a potential increase in domestic oil prices after global prices surged on Monday following the decision of Saudi Arabia and other OPEC + oil producers to further reduce oil output by 1.16 million barrels per day.
“This event is unfortunate, and the government should immediately take actions that would cushion the impact of a possible effect on the domestic economy, particularly since this would further intensify inflationary pressures,” Gatchalian said.
The vice-chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy said the Department of Energy (DOE) should immediately coordinate with industry players to ensure a sufficient and steady supply of energy in the country.
According to him, the Land Transportation Regulatory and Franchising Board (LTFRB) should also initiate preparation for an efficient and timely implementation of the Pantawid Pasada program.
Based on the previous implementation of the program, its effectiveness is hinged largely on the timeliness of its disbursement to targeted beneficiaries, thus, the need for the government to make preparations as early as possible, Gatchalian emphasized.
“To avoid delay in the disbursement of the subsidy and to ensure the desired impact is realized, the LTFRB and other government agencies concerned should be ready to implement the program efficiently and should have learned the lessons from previous disbursements,” Gatchalian said.
Amid continuing volatilities in oil prices, Gatchalian earlier filed Senate Bill No. 384, which seeks to institutionalize the Pantawid Pasada program given the need to set up an energy subsidy program to safeguard the public transport sector against oil price shocks.
In addition, Gatchalian said the DOE should also expedite the implementation of the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) to usher in a widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs) to ease the country’s dependece on imported oil in the long run.
“Alam natin na anumang pagkagambala sa suplay ng langis ay nagdudulot ng mas mataas na presyo. Kaya’t dapat na maging mabilis ang aksyon ng gobyerno na tumugon sa hamon na ito upang magkaroon ng agarang proteksyon ang mga sektor na labis na apektado ng pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” he added.