PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. urged the United States (US) to use its “global clout” in the bid to tame the rising fuel prices brought about by the continuous conflict in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.

“We appeal as well to the United States to use its global influence to help ease the current global plight of rising fuel prices that we all have to deal with. We also encourage the US’ long-term support for the implementation of the Asean Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation,” Marcos said in his intervention during the 10th Association of the South East Asian Nation (Asean)-US Summit in Cambodia.

US President Joseph Biden Jr. led the American delegation during the Asean-US Summit.

Based on the latest data from the Department of Energy, the year-to-date net increase of gasoline stood at P17.25 per liter, P36.30 per liter for diesel and P28.60 per liter for kerosene.

Fuel prices in the country continue to adjust, either going up or down, each week.

The war between Russia and Ukraine caused oil prices to skyrocket due to fears of supply disruptions amid the imposition of Western sanctions targeting the Russian economy.

It also threatens the global food and fertilizer supply, which could affect the administration’s thrust to revitalize the agriculture sector in order for the country to achieve food self-sufficiency.

Marcos maintained during the meeting that the Philippine government is ready to work with Asean in ensuring food security, which is included in the Asean Plus Three (APT) partners on the New Work Plan 2023-2027 that will serve as a guide in the next five years.

The plan covers various areas such as public health, food security, financial cooperation and digital economy, particularly as the region moves towards the post-pandemic recovery.

“Attaining food self-sufficiency and security by seeking innovative solutions through adoption of new technologies and enhanced connectivity to national, regional and global value supply chains — this must be one of our utmost priorities in the region,” Marcos said.

“The Philippines reaffirms our commitment to actively engage in the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve or APTERR. APTERR is extremely beneficial to our countries. We are vulnerable to many hazards and natural calamities due to topography and geographic location,” he added.

Marcos suggested diversifying APTERR by adding other commodities and staple food to the reserve as well as the exploration of smart agriculture and conduct of capacity-building programs for Asean members and the continuing conduct of forums that serve as platforms to discuss regional concerns on agriculture and food security.

The President also pushed for Asean to closely work with India to ensure better access to medicines and vaccines to pave the way for the immediate recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

“Asean friends, let us not miss the opportunity of having the ‘pharmacy of the world’ as our close neighbor and dialogue partner. The high cost of life-saving medicines and vaccines are barriers to a healthy population,” Marcos said.

“Let us work closely with India in ensuring that our region has access to a sufficient volume of affordable, high-quality medicines and vaccines,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)