Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Monday called the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to join in the national energy saving campaign in view of the oil prices at record highest.
President Arroyo said at the inaugural ceremony of new AFP chief of staff, Generoso Senga, that the whole nation, including the men in uniform, should break partisan bickering and focus on the energy crisis.
"Today, we face not only domestic controversies but also an oil crisis of global proportions compounded by a global resurgence of terrorism," Arroyo said.
She noted that even in the face of the "resurgence of terrorism ", the Filipino troops are still called upon to face material constraint while giving the offensive and the initiative against the enemies of the state."
During a Sunday TV interview, Arroyo announced an Executive Order mandating all government departments and agencies to reduce their monthly consumption of electricity and petroleum products by 10 percent.
Other energy-saving measures include the implementation of organized bus routes and reduced use of artificial illumination, she said.
The oil price in the world market has reached more than 67 dollar US dollars per barrel, prompting the Philippine government to order an all-out energy conservation in both the public and private sectors.
The unprecedented high oil price also triggering reconsideration of the government and the Congress on the Expanded Value-Added Tax (EVAT) bill on oil and power, which is still under scrutiny at the Supreme Court.
Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House committee on economic affairs and one of the presidential adviser on economy, earlier said that levying EVAT on oil and power companies could do more harm than good to the economy at this time.
He suggested that the EVAT may be imposed on oil and power when world oil prices drop to 50 dollars per barrel, where a tax imposition would be tolerable.
Meanwhile, 11 senators of the total 24 have crossed party lines and are seeking the exemption of the power sector from the still to be implemented EVAT bill.
However, Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo Monday told reporters that President Arroyo has no plans of deferring the implementation of the EVAT on oil and power pending a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the bill.
The Supreme Court is set to rule this week on whether to retain its freeze on EVAT, which it imposed in July due to questions of legality.