Solon bats for immediate fuel subsidy for farmers, fisherfolk amid oil price hikes

Published February 21, 2022, 2:52 PM

by Seth Cabanban

Magsasaka party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat called on the national government to begin the urgent distribution of fuel subsidies for farmers and fishermen amid the rapidly increasing prices of petroleum products.

Magsasaka Partylist Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He is referring to the Department of Agriculture’s plan to release a P500 million fuel subsidy and discount for farmers and fisherfolk.

“Hindi na kakayanin ng mga maliliit nating magsasaka ang epekto ng patuloy na pagtaas sa presyo ng langis, lalo pa’t patuloy din sa pagtaas ang presyo ng abono at pataba samantalang napakababa ng farmgate price ng mga produkto, partikular ng palay (Our farmers can no longer cope with the increasing cost of fuel, especially because the price of fertilizer is also rising while the farmgate prices of products, especially palay, remain low),” said Cabatbat in a press statement on Monday, Feb. 21.

Cabatbat, further citing the DA, said that around P1.73 was the cost of production for one kilo of rice prior to the 2022 oil price hikes, and that this cost went into cattle feed, engines, and gas.

“Sa ngayon, tiyak na higit pa sa P1.73 iyan. Habang tumataas ang presyo ng krudo, iniinda ‘yan ng mga magsasaka. Baon na sa utang ang mga manggagawa ng agrikultura. Hindi makabawi maski sa puhunan (For now, surely production costs more than P 1.73. As gas prices increase, farmers must increase production spending. They’re already in debt and they can’t break even on their investments),” added Cabatbat.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 15, oil price hikes resulted in an increased price per liter by P1.20 for gasoline adding to about P7.95 per liter; increasing by P1.05 for diesel adding to about P10.20 per liter; and increasing by P0.65 for kerosene adding to about P9.10 per liter.

Meanwhile, another oil price hike is expected for the 8th time this year as February comes to a close, an increase due in part to the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine which in turn disrupts global oil and fuel trade routes.