Press Release
January 8, 2016

Trillanes calls on DFA, DOE to prepare for Saudi-Iran Crisis

Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV on Thursday calls on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to prepare contingency plans that could be immediately implemented should the brewing tension in the Middle East, particularly between Iran and Saudi Arabia, continue to escalate.

Trillanes said, "The rapid deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, particularly between Iran and Saudi Arabia is quite alarming. The DFA and DOE should start preparing contingency plans to ensure the safety of the more than two million OFWs in the region, and to anticipate the crisis' impact on our energy needs."

Trillanes, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, proposed "It is high time that we appoint a Cabinet-level crisis manager for the Middle East to make sure that somebody is on top of the situation on both strategic and operational levels."

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia has announced that it is cutting its diplomatic ties with Iran, following a massive and destructive rally by Iranians in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Iran. This came after Saudi's execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr last January 2. According to some analysts, an escalation of the tension between these two countries can be a potential threat to global oil prices.

"As early as now, the Department of Foreign Affairs should map out emergency response/repatriation measures in case the situation worsens and we need to evacuate or at least ensure the safety of our OFWs in the region. Also, the Department of Energy should look for alternative sources of oil and formulate energy reduction policies to mitigate the impact of this crisis," Trillanes further noted.

The country has been importing oil from Saudi Arabia since 1993 and the crisis could greatly aggravate the volatile energy situation in the country.

Trillanes added, "Our government should have a proactive mindset and should anticipate all possible scenarios, so that we won't be caught flat-footed again."

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