'May tama tayo rito': Bets discuss effects of Russian invasion of Ukraine

'May tama tayo rito': Bets discuss effects of Russian invasion of Ukraine
Labor leader Leody de Guzman (center) is among nine candidates at the first nationally televised presidential debates at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and aired on CNN Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.
Marvin John Uy for Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — At the CNN Philippines presidential debate Sunday evening, presidential candidates were asked how they were going to address the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, particularly the repercussions on the oil industry and the rise of prices of basic goods, if they were president.

This comes after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippine government would remain neutral since a conflict in Europe supposedly "did not have anything to do" with the Philippines.  

Here's what the candidates had to say:

Sen. Ping Lacson

"Let's not say that Ukraine is far from the Philippines [because] we'll get hit by this," Lacson said.

The senator said that the government can subsidize a number of essential industries such as oil and agriculture temporarily to offset the effects of the conflict and allow them to withstand the impact for the time being.

"We have a right to condemn what Russia did as a signatory to the UN charter, while we renounce war as an instrument of national or foreign policy because that's in our constitution," he said. 

Lacson, who called Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky a "living hero," pointed out that the United Nations charter gives the Philippines the right to oppose the invasion and condemn Russia's attacks. 

"It's not wrong to join peace-loving nations to make sure our voice is heard in condemnation," he said. 

Vice President Leni Robredo

Robredo focused on looking for indigenous sources of power as early as now to deal with the coming gap in supply. 

"When it comes to the oil supply, we'll surely be affected by this...we have fuel subsidy and automatic suspension of excise tax," she said. 

Robredo said the government should also subsidize the systems losses and distributions charges to ensure families on the ground are relatively cushioned.

A demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.
AFP / Sergei Mikhailichenko

Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno

Moreno said that since the question was referring to right now, the Philippines should be neutral as it gets its overseas Filipino workers out of the country. 

He claimed that the present conditions in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic should get first priority.

"We should attend and give our people a chance to get out of this pandemic first...we respect treaties [but] first things first, Filipinos first," he said.

Labor leader Leody de Guzman

De Guzman again asserted the deregulation of the country's oil and petrol industry, pivoting to big businesses which he said would take advantage of the situation to profit. 

De Guzman has said that the country should remain non-aligned in the situation, saying it should instead "stand, as one country, for world peace and solidarity of countries worldwide."

"We should call on Russia and NATO to stop this conflict...if it doesn't stop, it could lead to full-blown war," he said in Filipino.

He added that he would call on the United States and call on Ukraine to take on a more neutral stance with both Russia and the United States in the interest of avoiding war. 

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