Duterte: Ukraine crisis a ‘stupid’ war

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte: Ukraine crisis a �stupid� war
In his pre-recorded public address aired yesterday, Duterte said the conflict in Ukraine has affected oil supply, which in turn would cause hardships among Filipinos.
Presidential Photo / Simeon Celi, Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has called for an end to what he described as a “stupid war” between Russia and Ukraine as he warned that the prices of oil products and other commodities would further rise if the conflict drags on.

In his pre-recorded public address aired yesterday, Duterte said the conflict in Ukraine has affected oil supply, which in turn would cause hardships among Filipinos.

“There is inflation everywhere because there is a conflict. And you spend more than what you can really afford would spell (a higher) inflation 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,” the President said.

“For as long as this...quarrel will stretch, matagal pa matapos, hirap na hirap tayo (it’s far from over, we’re suffering a lot),” he added. “Oil is everything.”

According to the website of the International Energy Agency, Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil to global markets. The country exported 7.8 million barrels of oil per day last December, the agency said.

“They (Ukraine and Russia) are fighting, it has affected everything, the supply of oil, it would be difficult if the demand is high and the supply (is limited),” the President said.

“For those oil-producing countries, if they do not increase the output of their oil, there (would) be a crisis again...because they imposed sanctions on Russia,” he added.

Duterte recalled that when he was young, gasoline had to be rationed because of limited supply, a scenario that he said may happen again.

He added that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to reduce their output at that time due to “politics.”

“So there was a time when all people were given coupons to buy gasoline and it was limited...We might reach that situation. I hope it will not reduce the oil (supply) because there is war,” he said.

Duterte advised the public to ride buses or trains as car owners are most affected by fuel price hikes.

“You better learn to practice now to ride the MRT, LRT because that is – that would be the single functional move – to use to move people from one place to another, or from one point to another,” he said.

Duterte, who previously described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “personal friend,” reiterated that the Philippines would remain neutral on the Ukraine crisis.

“Let us not intervene for now because Russia and America have several assets in the sea. They are just there. There are about more than 800 submarines roaming around, including (in) our country,” he said in Filipino.

“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.”

A total of 330 Filipinos have been repatriated from Ukraine as of Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

A Filipina and her Ukrainian husband arrived in Manila on Friday. The couple from Odessa were among those who crossed the Moldovan border assisted by the Philippine honorary consulate in Chisinau.

Since Feb. 24 when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, more than 10 million people have been forced from their homes – or nearly a quarter of the population of Ukraine. – Pia Lee-Brago

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