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Business

Fuel discount to benefit agriculture producers, consumers – DA

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Fuel discount to benefit agriculture producers, consumers � DA
In a statement, the DA said it is set to implement the fuel discount for farmers and fisherfolk program as provided under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for fiscal year 2022 or Republic Act (RA) 11639.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA)’s fuel discount program for farmers and fishers is seen to benefit both producers and consumers, as it tempers production costs and market prices of some commodities.

In a statement, the DA said it is set to implement the fuel discount for farmers and fisherfolk program as provided under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for fiscal year 2022 or Republic Act (RA) 11639.

“The fuel discount will definitely help reduce the production and transport costs of major farm and fishery products, and subsequently temper their respective market prices, thus benefiting producers and consumers alike,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

About P500 million has been appropriated for the fuel subsidy program, which will benefit millions of Filipino farmers, fishers, and consumers nationwide,” he said.

The 2022 GAA Special Provision 20 on Fuel Discount to Farmers and Fisherfolk states that the P500 million budget shall be used to provide fuel discount to farmers and fisherfolk when the average Dubai crude oil price based on Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) for three months reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel.

The beneficiaries of the program are farmers or fisherfolk who own and operate agricultural and fishery machinery individually or through a farmer organization, cooperative or association.

Farmers or farmers’ organizations will need to provide proof of ownership for their farm machineries.

Fishing vessels should be registered in the Integrated Boat Registry System or the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-BOATR.

The DA Regional Field Units and BFAR Regional Offices shall issue fuel vouchers to qualified beneficiaries to claim the fuel discount, and likewise authorized to deduct 1.5 percent of said amount for administrative and other operational expenses.

In a mobile message last week, Agriculture Undersecretary for fisheries, agribusiness, agro-industrialization and consumer affairs Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero said municipal fisherfolk whose bancas are registered under their local government unit’s licensing and regulations will be the recipients of the fuel subsidy.

“These recipients are also registered under the Boat registry system or BOATR, which the BFAR and the LGU have access to,” Caballero told The STAR.

She said there are approximately 270,000 fisherfolk with registered bancas at the LGU level.

“BFAR will have the official list validated by the LGU to come up with sound/updated motor boat listings vis-a-vis fisherman or recipient. Then once BFAR is able to secure the validated list from LGUs, in coordination with BFAR regional office, the recipients will be properly identified,” Caballero said.

“The goal is to provide all qualified/verified municipal fisherfolk with gasoline assistance,” she said.

She emphasized that out of the P500 million budget, P250 million is allocated for the fisheries sector.

The DA has yet to provide estimates of how many farmers will benefit from the program.

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