MANILA, Philippines — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Wednesday that the country's increasing pump prices will take a greater hit if the war between Ukraine and Russia escalates further.
Even if the country has enough supply, Cusi also encouraged the public to conserve on petroleum products for the time being.
"If the war [between Ukraine and Russia] will be prolonged, then our oil prices will suffer. So what we're foreseeing is that prices will go up," he said in Filipino during a Kapihan sa Manila Bay briefing hosted by Marichu Villanueva.
For him, the country is not currently experiencing any oil supply disruptions, even if the Philippines is primarily dependent on the global oil market which is experiencing tight supply.
"As far as what is happening now, we don't have a lack in [oil] supply in our country, but I am asking the public to conserve the use of petroleum and electricity," Cusi said.
If the Dubai price reaches $120 per barrel, diesel and gasoline prices will rise by P14.5 per liter and P9.05 per liter, respectively.
On Feb. 28, the Dubai price reached $96.89 per barrel.
'We don't directly import oil from Russia'
According to Cusi, the Philippines does not directly import its oil from Russia.
"We get [our supply] from the Middle East and then we get our finished products from our neighbors, Japan, Korea and China," he said.
The Department of Energy (DOE) chief added that Russia exports 58% of its crude oil to the European Union and the remaining 42% to Asia Pacific.
Russia exports five million barrels of oil a day, according to Cusi. The country is considered as one of the biggest energy producers in the world.
Back home, local oil firms announced another round of fuel price hikes for the ninth straight week. Gasoline climbed by P0.9 per liter, diesel rose by P0.8 per liter and kerosene went up by P0.75 per liter.
Since the first week of March, members of the public are required to shell out P9.65 more per liter for gasoline; P11.65 more per liter of diesel; and P10.3 more per liter of kerosene.
A "conscience call" to candidates
Cusi advised national and local candidates running for elections this year to hold off from their regular motorcades amid the continuous oil price hikes.
"We're calling on the candidates to not hold any caravans or motorcades because this will help save fuel," he said, adding this is a "conscience call."
Bets for higher office are now going around the country campaigning for themselves and their political parties.
The campaign period for presidential and vice presidential aspirants began on Feb. 8.
The government has bared its plans to provide subsidies and discounts totalling P3 billion for the public transportation and farming sectors affected by the constant fuel price hikes.
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