By Philippine News Agency
MANILA — Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday vowed to expand the coverage of the government’s fuel subsidy program to include fisherfolk amid the incessant increase in oil prices.
During her provincial sortie in Iba, Zambales, Poe pushed for the inclusion of fishermen under the Pantawid Pasada Program, considering the cost of gas and oil for their fishing vessels.
“Kung ang nagpapasada ng jeep ay nabibigyan ng fuel vouchers, hindi ba dapat kayo rin na mangingisda ay nabibigyan din ng umento ng gobyerno? (If jeepney drivers are given fuel vouchers, then fishermen should also receive some subsidy from the government, right?),” Poe said.
“Mahal na po kasi ang presyo ng gasolina na kailangan ninyo [sa pamamangka] (The price of oil that you need [for sailing] is too expensive),” Poe added.
Poe, who chairs the Senate public services committee, stressed the need for the government to provide assistance and sustainable livelihood options for fisherfolk, noting that they remain among the poorest sectors of society.
The Pantawid Pasada Program is one of the government’s flagship social mitigation measures which provides fuel subsidy for jeepney drivers and operators in the form of fuel cards amounting to PHP5,000 for 2018 and PHP20,514 for 2019.
Under the program, fuel subsidy cards are distributed to around 180,000 jeepney operators and drivers in the country.
The PPP which was launched on July last year seeks to mitigate the impact of fuel price increases due to the imposition of excise taxes under the TRAIN law and movement of petroleum prices in the world market.
A total of 88,209 fuel subsidy cards were already distributed to beneficiaries from July 17, 2018 to Feb. 24, 2019 based on data from the LTFRB.