CCIC cites solutions to rising fuel prices

Charles Kenneth Co, President of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (File: Photo Provided)

DEPENDENCE on imported oil and food is expected to be eased by the country amid continued rising oil prices and the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

So Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Charles Kenneth Co told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

Co said the government should focus on long-term self-sufficiency which will give the country a better economy and better food security.

He added that not only were gas prices rising, but all commodities produced by Russia and Ukraine were also affected.

These countries produce wheat, corn, sugar and even alternative starch products like rice, Co said.

As a short-term solution, Co suggested that the public save fuel by carpooling, using public transport or riding bicycles.

“We hope that the peace talks and the ceasefire will immediately end hostilities in Ukraine. War is not the solution. We pray for the safety of those affected by this war,” Co said.

Co also encouraged the public to ask lawmakers for a temporary reprieve by reducing the value added tax on petroleum products in the country.

Despite the consequent increase in oil prices, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Central Visayas assured the commuter public that the public transport fare will remain as it is.

Steven Yu, president of the Mandaue City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, March 9, a day after oil companies imposed an increase in their products for the 10th time since January of this year, that consumers can expect a greater increase in raw materials if the successive increases in oil prices in the country do not resolve quickly.

Yu noted that there are already small price increases happening randomly on all products, not only in Mandaue City, but all over Cebu Island.

“If high commodity prices don’t come down soon, once manufacturers’ inventories run out, we can expect bigger increases,” he said.

Yu said the successive oil price hikes are an additional burden or misfortune for the business world, adding that they have not yet recovered from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and the damage caused by Typhoon Odette.

He further said that it will seriously affect them despite the recent easing of restrictions such as lifting curfew hours, operating full capacity seats on public transport and not requiring vaccination cards, which have played a big role in the recovery of the business community.

“With the easing of restrictions, we are seeing a gradual resurgence of consumers going out and spending, but rising oil and commodity prices have dampened that purchasing power,” Yu said.

With that, the MCCI chairman said he hoped the government could intervene in a timely manner to reduce potential increases in commodities.

He, however, said they were pleased that the government was taking steps to review various measures to mitigate the impact of the war by revising the Biofuels Act, the Petroleum Deregulation Act, the possible lowering and removal tariffs on corn, wheat, oil, pork, chicken and other commodities.

Yu, however, said it was a valid decision for the government to increase the supply of basic commodities in the country through import.

Meanwhile, lawyer Salvador Diputado, assistant secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture for the Visayas, said that the successive increases in oil prices are very regrettable because they trigger a chain of reaction leading to the consequent increase in all commodities, especially food and other necessities.

Diputado, however, said now would be the best time for the public to produce their own food so they can weather the challenges ahead.

Since January this year, the total price increase for gasoline was about 13.25 pesos while 17.50 pesos and 14.50 pesos for diesel and kerosene, according to the Department of energy of the Visayas. (IRT, MKG)

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