DA: P500-million fuel subsidy for farmers, fishers out this March

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 04:48 PM

People visit the Farmers Market in Cubao, Quezon City on Feb. 19, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People visit the Farmers Market in Cubao, Quezon City on Feb. 19, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Government is preparing to release this March P500 million worth of fuel subsidy to help farmers and fishermen cope with rising oil prices aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Friday. 

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said his agency recently met with the budget and energy department to sign a joint circular on the subsidy that President Rodrigo Duterte approved this week.

"Mayroon na rin kaming ibibigay itong Marso – iyong fuel subsidy para iyong epekto ng petroleum prices na tumataas ay maibsan konti. Five hundred million is now ready to be given this March," Dar said in a televised public briefing. 

(We will give the fuel subsidy this March to ease the effect of rising fuel prices a little.) 

"We are going to submit the guidelines today and we’ll sign immediately the joint circular for the distribution to corn farmers and fishers," he added.

The agriculture chief said authorities have yet to determine how many would receive the fuel subsidy, they will announce in "due time." 

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On top of this, the DA will provide seeds to farmers under the Plant, Plant, Plant program that aims to boost local food production. Some 1.8 million rice farmers will also get about P5,000, Dar said. 

Other measures that Duterte approved in expectation of the economic fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine include a P2.5-million fuel subsidy for public utility drivers, a 30-day increase in rice buffer stock, and a fertilizer subsidy. 

"Gagawin po namin na itaas iyong (we will increase) local food production by way of using technologies and innovations," Dar said.
"We now have started mobilizing food from surplus areas all over the country directed to Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas because this is where the tightness is happening," he added. 

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed or wounded and more than 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Russia accounts for about 10 percent of global oil supplies. Russia and Ukraine account for about 29 percent of wheat exports.

Oil prices jumped to near 8-year highs and wheat to 14-year peaks, while aluminum, Dutch gas and European coal prices hit records as Western sanctions on Russia disrupted its commodities exports.

— With a report from Reuters