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Investigation into energy security proposed in Senate

A SENATOR has filed a resolution seeking to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the Philippines’ energy security.

“There is a 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,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement on Thursday.

The senator, who led the Senate Energy Committee in the last Congress, filed Senate Resolution 78 due to the drastic increase in global oil and coal prices, which have led to continuous increases in pump prices.

The resolution cites the 22% increase in gasoline prices to P77.71 per liter in May from P63.58 per liter in January, while diesel pump prices rose by 49% to P75.92 per liter from P50.95 per liter.

“The people of the country can no longer afford the constant increase in the price of petroleum products, which has also caused the increase in the price of basic commodities,” Mr. Gatchalian said.

Over the same period, he said many public utility drivers chose to abandon their usual routes, while provincial buses and taxis only operating at 20% to 30% capacity, leading to a fall in available public transportation capacity.

High coal prices have also led to some generation companies to seek permission to pass on their higher fuel costs to the public, despite fixed-price power supply agreements. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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