PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte admitted Monday that he could not do anything about high fuel prices “even if you hang me.”
In his speech at the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (Cloas) to farmers in Buluan, Maguindanao, the President said the Philippines could only rely on imported oil.
“Alam mo ngayon wala tayong oil. So every time tataas ‘yung oil, automatic tataas lahat ‘yan,” he said. “Yan hindi natin ma (control). Even if you hang me, wala tayong magawa. Bitayin mo man, ako ‘pag tumaas ‘yung oil tataas talaga ‘yung presyo because everything that you see is a product of oil.”
(You know that we don’t have oil. So every time the price of oil goes up, everything else goes up automatically. That’s something we can’t control. Even if you hang me, we can’t do anything. Even if you hang me, if the price of oil rises, the prices of everything will rise because anything you see is a product of oil.)
According to him, the Philippines has no “buffer” or “reserve” to deal with oil price hikes in the world market, noting that the country is not as blessed as Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia — all of which have their own oil resources.
“Kaya tayo ‘pag increase, wala tayong buffer, walang reserba pangsagang, pang-cover natin. So pagtaas niyan, taas lahat,” he said.
(So when the price of oil goes up, we don’t have a buffer, we don’t have reserves to cover the gap. When it rises, everything rises.)
The President had earlier said the high cost of oil products was to blame for the country’s soaring inflation, which reached a nine-year high of 6.4 percent in August 2018.
Inflation, however, eased to 4.4 percent in January this year from 5.1 percent in December 2018.
Duterte has approved the next tranche of the excise fuel excise tax hike starting January this year under the government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.