THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is eyeing to implement a program that would allow the sale of discounted petroleum products by oil companies to fisherfolk groups to help the latter cope with rising fuel prices.
BFAR OIC-Director Demosthenes Escoto said he is in talks with the Department of Energy (DOE) for a possible program that would offer direct selling of discounted fuel to identified fisherfolk groups.
“We have initially talked with the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), exploring the possibility of coming up with a direct sale of diesel for our fishermen. PNOC told us to discuss this in detail with the DOE,” Escoto told reporters in a recent interview.
“DOE is actually asking for some data, such as which groups will benefit. We will give them all the data and hopefully they can arrange some sort of an arrangement wherein our fisherfolk can buy fuel at discounted price,” Escoto added.
Escoto explained that the discounted fuel program would be an “industry-to-industry” agreement between oil companies and fisherfolk groups.
He pointed out that the government would only serve as a “facilitator” of the agreement, linking the fisherfolk associations with the oil companies.
Escoto said they are banking on the idea that oil companies would be able to provide fisherfolk associations with a “discounted” fuel price should they buy in bulk.
“That is what we are encouraging: to have an arrangement between our fishing associations and the private suppliers of petroleum [products],” he said.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has been implementing a fuel voucher discount program for corn farmers and fishermen to help them mitigate the impact of the rising oil prices on their productivity (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/01/24/da-readies-%E2%82%A7500-m-fuel-subsidy-program-for-farmers-fisherfolk-amid-oil-price-hikes/)
The fuel subsidy program had an initial funding of P500 million but was later increased to P1.1 billion.
Under Special Provision 20 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, the fuel discount program would be in effect if the average Dubai crude oil price, based on Mean of Platts Singapore for three months reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel. The beneficiaries of the program must be farmers or fisherfolk who own and operate agricultural and fishery machinery individually or through a farmers organization or cooperative.
The DA also expanded its fuel voucher program in the future to cover all agricultural commodities that use farm machinery to help them cope with expensive oil prices (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/08/04/da-expands-coverage-of-p500-m-fuel-voucher-program-for-farmers/).