Malacañang is still reviewing calls for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to declare a state of economic emergency amid an increase in prices of petroleum products brought about by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

This, after Albay Rep. Joey Salceda urged Duterte to declare a state of economic emergency, noting this would enable local government units (LGUs) to tap their calamity funds to address fuel price surges.

Acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua presented 14 recommendations to cushion the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war during Duterte’s Talk to the People on Monday night.

Duterte backed Chua’s recommendations and invited lawmakers to talk with his economic team.

“Ito ay masusing pag-aaralan ng Palasyo sa pamamagitan ng Office of the Executive Secretary at nagpresenta nga kagabi ang economic team ni Pangulo ng proposed government interventions kaya tingnan natin kung ang mga ito ay sapat na (The Palace is thoroughly reviewing this through the Office of the Executive Secretary and the President’s economic team presented last time proposed government interventions so we are trying to find out if these are enough),” Andanar said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in a separate press briefing, said declaring a state of economic emergency is “unnecessary at this point.”

He assured that the government is doing “everything” to address the oil price hikes.

“It’s a total effort of everybody to face the problem. Hopefully, this problem will not last long,” he said.

Joint ventures
Meanwhile, Andanar expressed hope for possible joint ventures between the Philippines and China in exploring energy sources in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) in the future, saying it would benefit the country economically.

“Lahat ng (All) alternative sources of energy be that from solar, from gas, from under the sea ay makakatulong po sa ating mga Pilipino (would help Filipinos). You know, energy is a problem that is not exclusive to the Philippines. Ang buong mundo ay kailangan ng sapat na enerhiya (The whole world needs enough energy),” he said.

In his Talk to the People, Duterte emphasized the need for the next administration to honor Philippine commitments on the proposed joint oil exploration with China in the disputed sea.

“Sundin lang ninyo kung ano yung pinag-usapan noon (Just follow what was discussed before). It’s a matter of honor…Consensual talks tapos may (and a) written agreement. Pag iniba ‘yan delikado (If you change it, it’s dangerous),” Duterte said. (PNA)

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