Senate resolution seeks to assess impact of Russia-Ukraine war on energy security

Citing spiraling pump prices of gasoline twice this week, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian prodded the Senate to promptly assess the impact of the lingering war between Russia and Ukraine on the country’s energy security and affordability.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 78, Gatchalian aired growing public apprehension over what was seen as a “drastic increase in global oil and coal prices reverberating across the domestic market” with local pump prices experiencing consecutive weekly increases.

To drive home the point, he cited the 22-percent increase in gasoline prices to P77.71 per liter in May from P63.58 per liter in January and diesel pump prices soared by 49 percent to P75.92 per liter in May from P50.95 per liter in January.

Gatchalian recalled during the same period, “many PUV [public utility vehicle] drivers opted not to ply their usual routes, while provincial buses and taxis were operating only at 20 to 30 percent capacity which led to severe lack of available public transportation.”

The senator stressed “the need for Congress to be apprised of the short, medium, and long-term effects and implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the Philippine economy, in particular, the country’s oil supply and the effects of the continuous elevated global oil and coal prices on domestic oil and petroleum products.”

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy in the 18th Congress, Gatchalian convened a panel hearing in March to seek specific solutions and programs of the Department of Energy (DOE) and relevant government agencies to mitigate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the country’s oil supply and prices.

The lawmaker lamented that the burden of spiraling fuel prices is aggravated by its downstream effect triggering price hikes of basic commodities.

Image credits: Jens Buettner/dpa via AP