Solon Backs Special Session Tackling Economic Emergency in the Philippines
Partido Reporma Standard-Bearer Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson stated that he is willing to attend a special session once called by the administration to tackle the possibility of placing the Philippines under a state of economic emergency due to the persistent oil price hike.
Lacson stated, “It is okay [with me] so that the government will have the needed flexibility to deal with this scourge of fuel price hikes.”
This came in the middle of several calls for lawmakers to hold a session regarding the matter of surging fuel prices over the past weeks which continues to affect both consumer spending and the economy.
For the time being, Lacson cited that there should be completely no room for any corruption or administrative gaps in the distribution of fuel assistance to sectors severely affected by the petroleum price hike.
Lacson added, authorities should learn from the past wherein help from the “Bayanihan” funds unsuccessfully reached their beneficiaries, particularly public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers.
The Cabinet’s economic development cluster is suggesting to increase the oil assistance for PUV drivers from ₱2.5 billion to ₱5 billion while the fuel discount vouchers for farmers and fisherfolks from ₱500 million to ₱1.1 billion.
Moreover, Lacson cited, “Aside from the issue of possible corruption, there is the administrative issue of distributing the funds. We cannot afford a case of the aid coming too late”
On the contrary, Lacson mentioned that doubling the fuel assistance to the transport sector and fuel discounts to the agricultural sector is the right thing to do for them to cope with the rising value of petroleum.
He noted, “Due to the spiraling prices of oil in the world market, doubling the fuel subsidies and vouchers is the right thing to do as allowed under a special provision in the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) in order to contain inflation which is projected to hit 3.7% in 2022.”
On Tuesday, March 15, the palace mentioned that it is still reviewing calls for the administration to place the country under a state of economic emergency due to the oil price hike brought by Ukraine and Russia conflict.
This is after Albay Rep. Joey Salceda pushed the administration to declare a state of economic emergency, stating that this would enable local government units (LGU) to use their calamity funds to solve the fuel price hike.