Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte on Thursday said the latest upside risk to oil prices underscores the need for the Philippines to put up its own stockpile reserve at the soonest as a way for government to stabilize domestic supply and prices.
Villafuerte said he agreed with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi that the country needs a strategic oil reserve so the government can be part of the oil supply chain and have the capability to ease the impact of volatile oil prices on consumers.
“We agree with Secretary Cusi that we should eschew complacency despite assurances by Saudi Aramco that its output will be back to normal soon enough and take more decisive measures to stabilize supply and prevent unscrupulous petroleum industry players from taking advantage of any volatility in global oil prices in the future,” he said.
“Given the adverse impact of any oil price surge on the cost of basic commodities and on transport fares, the government must take all necessary measures, including putting up its own oil reserves, to prevent runaway inflation and preserve the gains that President Duterte has achieved in containing the steep rise in commodity prices last year,” he added.
Villafuerte said the government should study thoroughly what method of oil stockpiling would be best for the country, the logistical requirements involved, and whether crude oil or oil products should be stored.
He recalled that when oil prices fell way back in the first quarter of 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) had already considered stockpiling oil for future use, but estimates show that it would cost a staggering P300 billion a year to carry out this plan.