By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte asked the public to brace for more economic hardships, saying the country is not a rich oil-producer that continues to rely on costly imported fuel which causes the sharp rise of local consumer prices
“Sabihin nila, ‘Ano ‘to si Duterte? Bakit ‘yung pandesal niya kasing laki na lang ng monggo?’ Ano bang magawa ko? Wala nga tayong oil eh. [They say, ‘What’s with Duterte? Why is the bread as small as a bean? What can I do? We have no oil],” Duterte said during a press conference in Davao City.
“This is not the end of the story, guys. Sabihin ninyo panahon ko talagang maghirap. [You say we will suffer during my time]. If things will move forward in accordance with the present calculations now, talagang sa panahon ko maghirap tayo. Kung magwala kayo, ‘di lahat na tayo. Magwala na tayong lahat kasi ako apektado rin. Iyan ang problema ngayon [we will really suffer under my term. If you lose it, we’ll all lose it because I am also affected. That’s the problem today],” he said.
The President lamented that the Philippines is not one of the fortunate nations given with oil resources. He noted that the country largely depends on imported oil, whose rising prices have driven the soaring inflation.
“Ang problema ngayon, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, to their maybe good fortunes meron silang oil. Tayo po wala. [The problem now is Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei to their maybe good fortunes have oil but we have none],” he said.
“Marami silang oil. Hindi sila dependent. Tayo, sabi ng Pilipino, inflation. Correct. There is inflation,” he said.
Duterte admitted that there would be inflation spike if oil prices will continue to escalate.
“I must give you the warning now. ‘Pag magtaas ‘yang oil, you can be sure next week mag-announce na naman ng price increases. Because oil is everything. The world cannot move. There’s not enough solar power to run this country,” he said.
“‘Pag nag-increase pa ‘yang mga y*** na… ‘Pag nag-increase ‘yan ng presyo, bukas, tatamaan tayo. [When prices increase tomorrow, we will be hit again],” he added.
The President earlier raised the possibility of the government suspending the fuel excise taxes to tame the country’s rising inflation. “Maybe,” Duterte said during a press conference in Malacañang last Tuesday, when asked if the government would suspend the excise taxes on petroleum products.
He noted that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III would look into the possible P2 reduction of the fuel excise taxes.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the government could suspend the next increase in fuel excise taxes if Dubai crude hits $80 per barrel for a period of three months.