MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has laid out three directives to concerned government agencies in an effort to cushion the impact of oil price hikes on Filipinos, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Saturday.
Roque made this remark amid the soaring oil prices in the world market.
“Our president is not indifferent to what’s happening. Nobody wants the oil prices to rise this much. That is why he has given three directives,” Roque said in an interview over DZMM.
Roque said Duterte’s first order was for surveillance teams of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor and arrest traders who take advantage of the oil price hike by raising prices further.
“First and foremost, he ordered the DTI to monitor and arrest traders who violate the suggested retail price,” Roque said.
Duterte’s second directive was for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to meet and consider raising minimum wage.
“Second, Secretary Silvestre Bello III has already asked the regional wage board to meet to see if there is a need to raise minimum wage because the prices have increased, people need higher salaries,” Roque said.
The third directive is for the Department of Energy (DOE) to import cheaper oil products from countries that are not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) such as Russia.
At present, the Philippines source it fuel from OPEC-member countries.
“The DOE is looking for cheaper oil from non-OPEC member countries including Russia,” Roque said. “We will do everything we can to get cheaper oil.”
Earlier, Roque said that the government can suspend the implementation of the higher excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law if oil prices in the world market will hit USD80 per barrel.
“Only the higher excise tax will not be collected if it will reach USD80. There is still excise tax, the lower excise tax,” Roque said. PNA-northboundasia.com