Gov’t urged to release P500-M fuel subsidy

by Feb 22, 2022Featured Article, News

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Argel Cabatbat of the Magsasaka party-list urges the government to immediately release P500 million in fuel subsidy and other assistance to farmers and fisherfolk affected by recent oil price hikes.

Cabatbat made the call as local fuel prices went up for the eighth straight week this year.

In a statement, Cabatbat prodded the government to immediately release the P500- million fuel subsidy to farmers and fisherfolk as provided for in Special Provision 20 of the 2022 General Appropriations Act.

It states that a total of P500 million will be used to provide fuel discounts to the agriculture sector when prices of crude oil reach $80 per barrel for three months.

The fuel subsidy will be given to those who own and operate agricultural and fishery machinery, be it individually or an organization, cooperative, or association.

“The successive increase in oil prices has an indirect effect on the prices of farm inputs. This is especially since farmers and fisherfolk are already bearing the brunt of skyrocketing costs of fertilizers and the unreasonably low farm-gate prices of their produce,” Cabatbat said.

Indirect effect

Petroleum companies are expected to implement another oil price hike on Tuesday.

Dubai crude, the reference price for Asian market, has reached more than $91 per barrel.

“Oil prices have an indirect effect on the prices of farm inputs, and we fear that the rising prices of petroleum products will adversely affect our farmers and prices of their produce,” he said.

He cited data from the Department of Agriculture, which showed that 14 percent or P1.73 goes to animal, machine, fuel and oil for every kilo of rice, before the series of fuel price hikes last year.

“The figure has definitely ballooned many times over, with farmers suffering tremendous losses. Breaking even has become virtually impossible,” Cabatbat said.

8th fuel price hike

Meanwhile, Filipinos must brace for the eighth round of fuel price hikes this week as concerns about oil under-production continue to send jitters in the market and bring prices to new highs.

Major oil companies on Monday announced that prices of diesel and gasoline would go up by P0.65 and P0.80 per liter, respectively, while prices of kerosene—mainly used as aviation fuel—would rise by P.045 per liter on Tuesday.

This will bring the cumulative net increase in fuel prices this year to P10.85 for diesel, P8.75 for gas, and P9.55 for kerosene.

Analyses provided by global experts showed that while the possibility of Iran joining the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries helped soften oil prices, news from the Russia-Ukraine border continue to worry investors.