Pangilinan: Include farmers, fisherfolk in gov't subsidy amid high oil prices

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2021 11:13 AM

Local fishermen prepare to sail from the breakwater of Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila on May 26, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Local fishermen prepare to sail from the breakwater of Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila on May 26, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Thursday farmers and fishermen should also be included in the distribution of government subsidy amid rising prices of fuel.

Last week, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said it would release P1 billion worth of cash grant to some 178,000 public utility drivers hit by the oil price hikes.

"Kailangang-kailangan ito ng ating mga tsuper at riders. Dapat mabigyan din ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda na tinatamaan din ng pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo," he said in a statement.

(Our [PUV] drivers need this. Our farmers and fishermen hit by the increase in oil prices must also be given [a similar aid.])

The aspiring vice president, who authored the Sagip Saka law, said 70 percent of the expenses of fishermen went to fuel for the fishing boats they use.

"Kapag tumaas ang gastos ng ating mga mangingisda at magsasaka, tataas din ang presyo ng pagkain. Lahat tayo ay apektado," he said.

(If the expenses of fishermen and farmers increase, prices on food will also rise. We are all affected.)

While the fuel vouchers will not be able to cover the entire increase on the price of oil, Pangilinan said these could ease the financial burden of those in the fisheries and agriculture sectors.

In his statement, the senator also reiterated his call to suspend the excise tax on oil products.

Fuel prices have increased by almost P20 per liter this year, he said.

Pangilinan said the suspension of excise tax would reduce the current prices of fuel products from P6 to P9 per liter.

Fuel subsidy to the affected sectors is being tackled by the Senate in the proposed 2022 budget hearings, he said.

Separate hearings are also being conducted on the suggestions to temporarily halt the imposition of excise tax on oil as contained in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.

Pangilinan has consistently opposed the excise tax on fuel component under the TRAIN law.

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