In a pre-recorded address released on Tuesday, March 22, Duterte reminisced about his childhood, when fuel rationing was a lot more common because of limited supplies. He warned that this scenario may happen again.
He explained that he was talking about the time during the early 1970s when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to radically throttle their oil production due to "politics."
"There was a time when all people were given coupons to buy gasoline and it was limited. We might reach that situation," said Duterte. "I hope it will not reduce the oil [supply] because there is war."
Duterte also suggested that Filipinos should consider taking public transportation instead of driving their cars while oil prices remain uncontrollably high. Specifically, he said people in the massive Manila metropolitan area should take the train instead because it can take on more passengers and the price of a train ticket has not changed.
"If supply is unavailable or lacking, that's dangerous [because] only the rich can afford [to use their cars]," said Duterte. "Since the prices of gasoline are too high, you should just take a bus or the [Metro Rail Transit System]."
Duterte laid the blame for the rising cost of oil products and other commodities on the war between Russia and Ukraine, which he called a "stupid war" that will make the country's economic situation worse the longer it drags on.
Russia is the world's largest exporter of oil to global markets, exporting over 7.8 million barrels of crude oil and other refined products per day back in Dec. 2021.
"There is inflation everywhere because there is a conflict," said Duterte. "And you spend more than what you can really afford [which] would spell [a higher] inflation rate for everybody."
"We have to watch the global market factors and I hope that this war – I said I called it a 'stupid war' – they should stop it," he added. "For as long as this quarrel will stretch – it's far from over – we will continue suffering."
Duterte admitted that the country will have a "hard time" so long as demand in the Philippines for oil products is high and supply is low. "If the amount available for export is inadequate in other oil-producing countries, if they do not increase the output of their oil, there will be a crisis again," he said.
According to the country's Department of Energy, much of its imported crude oil comes from the Middle East – specifically from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The refined petroleum products, on the other hand, come from Taiwan, South Korea and China.
Philippine officials have rushed to assure the public that the country still had an ample supply of oil. But they noted that the loss of Russian exports from the global market is sending other countries reliant on Russian oil reeling. This, in turn, has had a cascading effect on oil prices in the Philippines. (Related: Oil prices continue to surge amid fears of approaching supply crisis.)
"We are not lacking in supply given that we source our crude oil requirements primarily from the Middle East, and finished products from Asia-Pacific," said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. "However, the impact of the Ukraine crisis on international oil markets does have a direct effect on our prices."
Duterte has previously described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "personal friend." Despite his close personal ties with Putin, Duterte insisted that the Philippines will remain neutral.
He warned that both countries have submarines roaming around in the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea and within the country's nautical boundaries.
"And for as long as they do not intrude into the 12-mile limit, perhaps we won't have any problem. But we know that they are here and everywhere. That is how the world operates today, precisely at this moment," said Duterte.
The Philippines has focused on repatriating its citizens from Ukraine. As of Monday, March 21, a total of 330 Filipinos have been safely transported out of the country.
Learn more about how the war in Ukraine is affecting global economies and their oil supplies at MarketCrash.news.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, talks about how the global supply chain is getting worse and fuel shortages are imminent.