MANILA -- The Philippines is at the mercy of oil-producing nations, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said late Saturday night amid the impact of the rise of oil prices in the world market.
Duterte made this remark, noting that the Philippines fared worse than other countries when it came to addressing the impact of soaring commodities such as oil, since it does not have its own oil production.
We were at the mercy of the oil-producing nations. And sometimes in 1972, there was this reduction of supply and there was in the country --- we had to go to a coupon to buy the oil. Until now, it's still oil. When the price of oil increases, we have to catch up, Duterte said in a press conference before leaving for his official state visit to South Korea from June 3 to 5.
It's oil that we don't have I mean it could cushion the impact of a worldwide, maybe recession in some other countries. America just dis --- ah maybe recovered, I don't know. Us, we suffer because we have to import oil. We don't have our own supply, he added.
Duterte said he wonders why neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Brunei had their own oil production.
Remember that our neighbors had the commodity given by God that we don't have. And what was that? It's oil, Duterte said.
All our neighbors have oil. How come we weren't given and now, only little and which has stymied the quality of time. We had so many opportunities but nothing there because of It's all oil, the President added.
He also reiterated how humbled he felt during the ceremonial valve opening of the Alegria Oil Field in Cebu.
I was humbled before God that for the first time, we extract oil and there was gas spewing up the fire from the ground because the oil is there and the gas is going on top, Duterte said.
'Not bad at doing business'
Duterte said that the impact of increase in prices of oil and other basic commodities is not because the Philippines is bad at doing business but merely because oil needs to be imported.
We're suffering here. It's not because we are doing bad in business. We are doing fine. The exports... The problem is I said, we have to buy oil to run everything including to reach where you want to work, Duterte said.
The President, meanwhile, said that despite the rising prices of goods, everything is doing well in our country.
Maybe some problems here, there, but we are in a hurry in our infrastructures. But always the rate of speed with which we will produce or finish them is really dependent on a one vital commodity that we don't have, it's oil, Duterte said.
Earlier, Duterte laid out three directives to concerned government agencies in an effort to cushion the impact of oil price hikes on Filipinos.
Duterte ordered the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor and arrest traders who take advantage of the oil price hike by raising prices further, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to meet and consider raising minimum wage, and the Department of Energy (DOE) to import cheaper oil products from countries that are not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) such as Russia.
At present, the Philippines sources fuel from OPEC-member states.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said that the government can suspend the implementation of the higher excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law if oil prices in the world market will hit USD80 per barrel. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency