The Department of Energy (DOE) has asked oil companies to provide 10 to 20 percent fuel price discount to shipping vessels, primarily those sailing to the West Philippine Sea, for fishing purposes.
In addition, the department is seeking the support of oil industry players for the same scale of discount for urban poor consumers to be identified and accredited by the Presidential Commission of the Urban Poor (PCUP).
As presented by Energy Undersecretary Alexander S. Lopez to the oil companies, the fuel discount will be integrated in the “Urban Poor Privilege Card” to be distributed by the government to targeted beneficiaries.
The energy department said “the target community partners are the accredited urban poor communities and resettlement sites nationwide.”
The discussion with the oil companies had just been preliminary at this point and the tone of the DOE appeal is not mandatory, but sources in the industry, have indicated that their main apprehension is for this kind of initiative to be used in the 2022 national elections.
Apart from fuel discount, the state-sponsored privilege card for the urban poor will also extend to them benefits on food that will include basic commodities like rice, noodles, coffee, milk, and canned goods.
As emphasized, the proposal is that in supermarkets near the resettlement sites of these urban poor communities, there will be allocations of certain amount of coffee and canned goods for the cardholders.
The trade-offs being offered by the government are: posting of the brands in the official Facebook page of the PCUP; putting their logos in the Urban Poor Privilege Card; and to treat this as expansion of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) reach of the entity providing discounts, among others.
Fee or cost discounts shall also be accorded to the cardholders on services, such as on courier as well as transportation either by land, sea or air travel; and there will also be discounts on their purchases of medicines.
Further, the cardholders can avail of discount on purchases of materials that they would use for skills training activities, including those on cooking/baking; beauty and wellness skills; soap making; haircutting as well as welding.
The ‘urban poor privilege card’ — that will be printed on royal blue and white colors — will not have expiry date; and it will bear the name of the cardholder, photo and signature.
To be integrated in the design are the logos of PCUP and sponsor-firms or entities, and its safety features will be protected by a serial number as well as barcode and a QR (quick response) code.