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Senate panel set to probe DOE energy security, self-sufficiency strategies

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Committee on Energy chair Senator Win Gatchalian shows to the press a map of existing petroleum service contracts in the country for fuel exploration, during the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel forum, 22 Oct. 2018. Looking on is Petroleum Association of the Philippines chair Rufino Bomasang. Discovering and tapping indigenous energy resources can help the country achieve energy security and energy self-sufficiency. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The Senate Committee on Energy led by Senator Win Gatchalian is set to take an in-depth look into the government’s strategy to ensure energy security and self-sufficiency amid skyrocketing global oil prices.

Gatchalian has filed Resolution No. 916, which directs the appropriate Senate committee to scrutinize the Department of Energy’s (DOE) national strategy in ensuring a continuous, adequate, and economic supply of energy “with the end in view of achieving self-reliance in the country’s energy requirements.” The resolution has been referred by the plenary to the Committee on Energy, which Gatchalian chairs.

In filing the resolution, Gatchalian stressed the need for energy security to alleviate the economic suffering of Filipinos due to volatile global oil price movements. “The need for energy security is further emphasized by the fact that the country imports 44.7% of its total primary energy supply, exposing it to price volatility in the world market,” the senator said.

The lawmaker noted that diesel and gasoline prices have shot up by as much as P5.45 and P6.30, respectively, from July 25, 2018 prices, noting that these rising pump prices have been exacerbated by the fuel excise tax imposed under the TRAIN Law (Republic Act No. 10963).

The senator also highlighted that the recent rounds of oil price hikes have contributed to the country’s climbing inflation rate, which hit a nine-year high at 6.7 percent in September 2018.

In his resolution, Gatchalian also mentioned that DOE is the agency mandated to carry out the policy of energy self-reliance and self-sufficiency through integrated and intensive exploration, production, management, and development of indigenous energy resources; and to rationalize, integrate, and coordinate the various programs of the government towards self-sufficiency.

“DOE has committed to implement measures to mitigate the effects of continuous price increase in the world market, and to oversee the proper implementation of TRAIN, in so far as taxes on petroleum products are concerned,” Gatchalian said.

“Despite these efforts, it is necessary to be apprised of DOE’s strategic framework to achieve energy security and energy self-sufficiency to prevent similar situations from arising in the future,” he added, thus necessitating the filing of the resolution.