Use of ‘raffle system’ in distributing fuel subsidies to fishers slammed

“ is not, and should not be a game of chances. Our livelihoods and the oil crisis should be addressed seriously.”

This was what Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) Spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo said after receiving reports that fuel subsidy beneficiaries of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) were identified using a “raffle draw.”

A fisherman in Cavite (Manila Bulletin/ File Photo)

Arambulo disclosed that only 25 fishers per barangay in Laguna were “drawn out” to receive P3,000 fuel subsidy. In a fishing village in Rizal, on the other hand, only 15 out of the 25 were given a subsidy as the rest have been “disqualified” due to their unregistered boats.

Fuel subsidy helps alleviate the suffering of fisherfolk amid the soaring prices of fuel products in the country. This scheme was boldly denounced by the group, reiterating that it is not what the “ailing fishing sector” needs.

Meanwhile, Arambulo noted that there are better ways to help Filipino fishers in meeting the “standards” in order to receive the much-needed fuel subsidy.

“If the government really wants to cushion the impacts of oil price hike to marginalized sectors, then they must have fuel subsidies distributed sans unjust restrictions and prerequisites. Tulungan nila ang bawat mangingisda (They should help every fisherman),” said Arambulo in a press statement on Thursday, Aug. 18.

The fishers’ group then added that it will “seek dialogue” with BFAR Central Office to discuss this “questionable” scheme of distributing aid.