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Government is doing its best to protect consumers from oil price increases - Aquino

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President Benigno S. Aquino III assured the Filipino people that the government is doing its best to protect consumers from possible disruptions of imported oil supply in the country as a result of the recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Our government is not taking this lying down. We are taking steps to protect our people from possible disruptions in supply and the volatility of the world oil market,” the President said in his speech at the 35th anniversary of the Philippine National Oil Company–Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) on Friday at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

The President said the initial P450 million financial assistance for the Pantawid Pasada Program is one of the immediate steps that the Department of Energy (DOE) initiated to help all legitimate passenger jeepneys and tricycles franchise owners from the impact of the continued oil price hikes.

“Energy Secretary Rene Almendras has spearheaded the Pantawid Pasada, a temporary financial assistance program for the public transport sector. The initial 450 million pesos for this has been set aside and legitimate transport operators will be able to avail of this in the coming weeks,” he stressed.

The Chief Executive noted that the recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has made life more difficult for the Philippines because the country is still dependent from imported oil.

“We are a country where a large portion of our oil requirements are imported; making us vulnerable to forces we have no control over. As we have seen, if something happens in Libya, Bahrain, or Egypt, we pay the price — in the form of higher fuel cost,” he said.

In order to become independent from imported oil products, the President said, the PNOC-EC has started to produce electricity by using geothermal power and established Malampaya natural gas power plant to prevent possible supply disruptions.

The President expects that in the soonest possible time, the PNOC-EC’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution of Malampaya can fuel public buses plying the streets not only in Metro Manila but all over the country.

The Department of Energy’s Philippine Energy Efficiency Project is an ambitious multi-year plan to wean public utility vehicles from the use of gasoline and diesel and to encourage the transport organizations to shift to alternatives like natural gas, electricity, and hybrid engines.

During the program, the President witnessed the turnover of P3 billion check dividends of the national government from retained earnings of the PNOC by PNOC-EC chairman and chief executive officer Gemiliano Lopez Jr. to Secretary Almendras.

Acknowledging its efforts to improve energy and fuel security of the country, the President cited the men and women of the PNOC-EC for remitting its dividends to the national coffer.

“This money will fund the much needed projects that we are undertaking for our people. But more important than the money that you remit, you are helping realize a dream of a better Philippines. As an important partner in our Energy Efficiency Project, you are helping to usher in a new day for the country — a day in which our people are no longer hostage to the rising price of a scarce commodity,” he said.

The President also witnessed the presentation of a special citation awarded by Lopez to Teresito Morales and Edrito Archay for their dedicated service to the country despite their hardships while working 300 meters under the ground. The two mine workers have worked on the coal of the PNOC for almost two decades and have survived several mine accidents.

Another special citation was awarded to Rufino Bomasang for being a true public servant, honest and competent. Bomasang spearheaded the birthing of the natural gas industry in the country and the development of indigenous coal. (PNA)

 




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