VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte repeats wrong claim PH has ‘no oil’

Read this fact check in Filipino

President Rodrigo Duterte in a Jan. 29 speech said the Philippines is not an oil-producing country. Not true.

Talking about the government's anti-poverty programs at the 68th founding anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the president said.

“...Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei have oil. So wala sila masyadong problema diyan (so they don’t have much of a problem) because almost one half of the total -- o (or) it’s about mga -- GDP kinakain ng… The income, kinakain ng (a big bulk of it is from) oil. ‘Yun ang problema sa atin (That’s the problem with us) plus the corruption.”

Source: Radio Television Malacanang, 69th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (Speech), Jan. 29, 2020, watch from 14:58 to 16:10

He has made similar claims in at least three speeches in 2018, saying that God did not bless the country with oil, unlike other nations. In November that same year, he falsely claimed the oil field in Alegria, Cebu, which he inaugurated, was the first of its kind in the country. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: In one speech, Duterte unloads 9 false claims)

But contrary to Duterte’s claim, the Philippines has been producing commercial oil as early as 1979.

Watch this video.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte wrong in saying PH has ‘no oil’ from VERA Files on Vimeo.

Based on the latest data from the Department of Energy, oil fields in the country produced a total of 776,093 barrels of oil in 2019. The biggest bulk came from the Galoc oil field located in northwest Palawan, which joins the Alegria oil field in southern Cebu as one of the two remaining operational oil fields in the country after the Nido, Matinloc, and North Matinloc oil fields ceased operations in November 2019.

There are nine other “undeveloped” oil fields in the country, according to a Philippine Statistics Authority report, covering the period from 2000 to 2017, released in January 2019.

The report also said the country’s total oil reserves, which ranges from 134.5 million to 172.8 million barrels of oil, “[have] not drastically changed” from 2000 to 2017 primarily because of the “inactivity of most reserves,” since a large share, or about 91.4 percent, of the total reserves are “Class C” or non-commercial.

As of 2017, “Class A” oil reserves, or those commercially recoverable, are estimated to last for only “four more years.”

Duterte has approved and inaugurated a number of oil-related projects during his term. In May 2018, he opened the Alegria gas and oil field in Cebu. Five months later, he signed the first petroleum service contract under his term with Israeli company Ratio Petroleum Ltd. to explore oil and gas in eastern Palawan.

In May 2019, Duterte signed Executive Order 80 to rationalize the rules on the engagement of third party participants under petroleum service contracts awarded by the government. Duterte acknowledged that allowing third party contractors and the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) to participate in service contracts as a move to “enhance” the country’s competitiveness as an “oil and gas investment destination.”


Sources

Radio Television Malacanang, 69th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (Speech), Jan. 29, 2020

Speeches of Duterte

Business World, DoE preparing LNG plan B if no private investors emerge, July 11, 2018

Presidential Communications Operations Office, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Ceremonial Commencement of the Alegria Oil Field

Presidential Communications Operations Office, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Ceremonial Commencement of the Alegria Oil Field

Department of Energy, Philippine Petroleum Production (as of December 2019)

Philippine Statistics Authority, Asset Accounts for Oil, Natural Gas, and Condensate Resources of the Philippines

Department of Energy, Oil and Gas History

Department of Energy, Energy Sector Milestones

Department of Energy, DOE Joins Closing Ceremony of Northwest Palawan Offshore Oil Fields

Presidential Communications Operations Office, The President’s Mid-term report to the people 2016-2019

Official Gazette, Executive Order 80


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

FOR FURTHER READING

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte inulit ang maling pahayag na ‘walang langis’ ang PH

Sa isang talumpati noong Enero 29, sinabi ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na ang Pilipinas ay isang…

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Story claiming Alegria is PH’s first oil field FALSE

It's Nido in Palawan, discovered in 1977.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: In one speech, Duterte unloads 9 false claims

In Puerto Princesa, he ranted about drugs, crime, oil fields and World War II, among others.

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

Contact us

Email us at newsroom@verafiles.org

Follow us

MEMBER