By Daniel Long
BusinessWorld reported last Tuesday (September 19, 2023) that diesel and gas prices soared again for 10 and 11 consecutive weeks respectively. The Filipino people are fed up with the seemingly endless gas price hikes. But what is the solution for the Philippines to have cheap gas? Well, it has been more than a year since it was first proposed by no other than President Marcos Jr. himself. In September 2022, BBM told Bloomberg TV on American soil: “We need to approach Russia…they can…provide us with some fuel. We need to find those new sources of fuel… feed, fertilizer…that are just critical for us.” When asked about US-led sanctions on Russia, Marcos had this to say: “The political side of it has been tricky, but nonetheless NATIONAL INTEREST COMES FIRST.” It was a bold but correct thing to say and every Filipino patriot clapped when they heard those words from the President.
It has been long overdue, but BBM was right and he must buy the cheap oil from Russia now. Financial Times reported in July 2023 that China’s Russian oil imports are its highest since the Ukraine war. In fact, since China has a special deal with Russia, gas prices for China are much lower than for Europe. Russia has even replaced Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil importer. Reuters reported in July 2023 that even Saudi Arabia, an oil rich country, has imported record Russian oil (910,000 metric tons). The Wall Street Journal reported in April 2023 that even Japan, broke with the U.S., and bought Russian oil. Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Pavlov has said as early as June 2022 that Russia is ready to cooperate with the Philippines if it is interested in buying its oil. The Marcos administration must take advantage of what is happening now – talk to the Russian Ambassador to the Philippines, buy the cheap Russian oil, and end this hardship for the Filipino people.
However, many anti-Marcos Kakampinks on social media were up in arms with the President’s statement. They called the President a “Russian/Putin enabler” and posted comments like “Neutrality enables the oppressor”. I challenge these Filipinos – if they really care so much about a conflict thousands of miles away, they should volunteer to fight in Ukraine. The choice is clear and binary: Either the country has cheap gas and we’re an “enabler” or the country continues to suffer endless oil price hikes but at least we can virtue signal on social media about how we don’t “enable the oppressor”. The United Nations member countries that have sanctioned Russia make up only 16% of the world’s population. UA&P Professor Robin Michael Garcia said President Marcos’ proposal “will be viewed as complicity to the invasion of Ukraine”. Does the colonial Kakampink mind believe the West and its allies alone represent the “international community”? Do they know that Ukraine itself still gets Russian oil? I guess they’re an “enabler” as well.
I am a supporter of President Duterte and especially his independent foreign policy when it comes to China, but he has a very shallow view of the Russia-Ukraine war to say the least. I would even go as far to say that BBM has a more level-headed view of the Russia-Ukraine war than President Duterte. In March 2022, Duterte said he would allow the U.S. to use Philippine military bases against Russia. In May 2022, he said that Putin “bombs women and children.” In January 2023, Duterte even suggested on his SMNI program “Gikan sa Masa” that Putin was a terrorist. BBM has made no such statements. Distinguished international relations scholar John Mearsheimer has correctly pointed out that US-NATO expansion into Russia’s borders is the main cause for the conflict in Ukraine today and that Russia was desperate to avoid war. Those who are interested to learn the truth about the Russia-Ukraine conflict should check out Professor Mearsheimer’s lecture “Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault?” on YouTube which is now at almost 30 million views.
Finally, we must remember that it was the Duterte administration, not Marcos’s, that terminated the P12.7 billion helicopter deal with Russia. In fairness to PRRD, BBM did not revive the chopper deal. However, Russian Ambassador Pavlov said in April 2023 that Russia still believes BBM is promoting an independent foreign policy. He is correct, BBM is in a stronger position to approach Russia and negotiate with them to get cheap oil for the Filipino people. In November 2022, BBM urged US President Biden to use his influence to stop rising gas prices. Inquirer reported in January 2023 that the Marcos government had been ignoring Ukraine’s requests for a call between BBM and Zelensky since June 2022. (6 months) When President Marcos was asked to support Ukraine’s peace deal in January 2023, he said the “territories” were not for the Philippines’ to decide and that it should be “between Ukraine and Russia” to “talk it out”. BBM is correct. The Russia-Ukraine war is thousands of miles away and none of the Philippines’ business. He must put the Filipino nation and its interests first. Mr. President, buy the cheap oil from Russia now to Build Better More and be a Friend to All. Better late than never.