US-Iran tension definitely impacts local fuel prices — DOE

Marje Pelayo   •   January 7, 2020   •   255

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) is monitoring the movement of fuel prices in the international market in view of the ongoing tension in the Middle East particularly between the United States and Iran.

Though the Philippines has a different fuel source other than Iran, the DOE said the conflict has hugely affected other Gulf nations where the country buys oil.

One effect, the DOE fears, is the delay in crude deliveries which will likely affect the prices of oil in the country.

“Ang Iran kasi napaka strategic ng location niya lalo na doon sa dadanan ng ating mga vessel o yung nga barges – iyong (Iran’s location is very strategic. Our vessels or barges pass through its territory, the) Strait of Hormuz,” explained DOE-OIMB Assistant Director Rodelo Romero.

“If you will notice in the past, once na magkaroon ng threat, yun ang target nilang sarahan (once there’s threat, that’s the first target for closure),” he added.

Among the countries in the Middle East that supply oil to the Philippines include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

Meanwhile, the DOE confirmed that no oil company has yet imposed the additional excise tax on oil.

The Department has ordered all oil companies to submit their respective inventory reports until January 8, 2020.

They are also required to put up advisory in their respective oil stations before they impose the third tranche of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law on their products. – MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

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PH Navy ships arrive in Oman for repatriation amid Middle East tensions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 7, 2020

The Philippine Navy ships, BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16), have arrived in Oman to help in the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the tensions in the Middle East.

The ships arrived at Sultan Qaboos Port late on Wednesday afternoon (February 5).

In a statement, Philippine envoy to Oman, Ambassador Narciso Castañeda said the navy contingent are “all safe and sound” upon arriving in Oman.

“The troops are very happy and in high spirits since this event serves as another milestone for our Navy that we can already transcend across the deep waters of Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea,” he said.

He also assured that the embarked sailors and marines “are ready to assist and support the government effort in repatriating our unsung heroes, the OFWs in this Middle East conflict.”—AAC

Oil price rollback set on Feb 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2020

Oil companies will set another oil price rollback on Tuesday (February 4).

Effective on Tuesday at 6:00 a.m., Shell prices on gasoline, kerosene, and diesel will be down by P1.60, P2.45, and P2.00 per liter, respectively.

Petro Gazz and Seaoil will also have a similar price rollback for diesel and gasoline.

Meanwhile, Cleanfuel already implemented an oil price rollback on Sunday (February 2) at 6:00 a.m. on diesel (P2.00 per liter) and gasoline (P1.60 per liter).—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

US soldiers injured in Iran’s attack on Iraqi military bases

UNTV News   •   January 17, 2020

US soldiers stand next to the damage caused by Iran’s missile attack inside Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province, Iraq, 14 January 2020. EPA-EFE FILE/STR

Washington, DC — Eleven United States soldiers were injured in the Jan. 8 Iranian bombing of a military base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a targeted strike, the US Central Command said in a statement Thursday.

Initially, the Pentagon had said that the attack had not caused any injuries but now, after re-evaluating the victims, it has identified some symptoms of possible concussions due to the force of the impact of the missiles.

“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Centcom spokesperson Bill Urban said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” in the days following the attack, eight soldiers were transported from the Al Asad air base in western Iraq to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, while three others were sent to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait for follow-on screening, the official said.

“When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening,” he added.

After the attack on the air base, Iran warned that it was only the beginning of a series of retaliatory actions it would take to avenge the death of Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force and a highly respected figure in the Persian county, in a US targeted strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

At the time, US President Donald Trump chose not to respond to the Iranian offensive with military force and said in a speech to the nation that he would impose more sanctions against Iran.

Those sanctions were directed against eight senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, as well as against the country’s steel, iron, aluminum and copper industry.

“The United States is targeting senior Iranian officials for their involvement and complicity in Tuesday’s ballistic missile strikes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said in a statement outlining the sanctions.

“We are also designating Iran’s largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining,” he added.

Tehran and Washington, which have had no diplomatic relations since 1979, have experienced multiple crises since Trump ordered the US’ exit from a landmark multilateral agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in 2018.

The current escalation of tension coincides with the downing of a Ukrainian aircraft by the Islamic Republic, which caused the death of all 176 people aboard. EFE-EPA

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