By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Farmers and fishermen equally hurting from the incessant oil
price spikes must not be left out in the distribution of government
subsidy to affected transport sectors, Senator Francis “Kiko”
Pangilinan said Thursday.
At the same time, the senator reiterated his call to suspend the
excise tax on oil products to mitigate the impact of oil prices,
which hit 10th straight week on Nov. 2.
Fuel prices have increased by almost P20 per liter this year.
Pangilinan said the suspension of excise tax will reduce the current
prices of fuel products from P6 to P9 pesos per liter.
Last week, reports said the government will release P1 billion to the
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to provide cash
grants to around 178,000 drivers.
“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 (This is a much-needed assistance to our
jeepney, bus and tricycle drivers. But we hope similar aid will be
given to our farmers and fishermen who are not spared from the oil
hikes),” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, author of the Sagip Saka law, said 70 percent of the
expenses of fishermen go-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.
While the fuel vouchers will not be able to cover the entire increase
on the price of oil, these could somewhat ease the expenses of the
farmers and fishers.
The senator said fuel subsidy to the affected sectors is being tackled
by the Senate in the ongoing proposed 2022 budget hearings.
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 (TRAIN) law.
Pangilinan has consistently opposed the excise tax on fuel components
under the TRAIN law. (ai/mtvn)