Dar thanks Duterte Congress for approving fuel subsidy program

January 24, 2022 Cory Martinez 118 views

THE ‘Fuel Discount for Farmers and Fisherfolk Program” of the Department of Agriculture will soon be implemented as the two Houses of Congress have already approved the P500-million fuel subsidy program.

DA Secretary William Dar thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate and House of Representatives for the approval of the program saying that the program will benefit millions of Filipino farmers, fishers and consumers nationwide.

The fuel subsidy program is provided under the Special Provision No. 20 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 or Republic Act (RA) 11639.

“The fuel discount will definitely help reduce the production and transport costs of major farm and fishery products, and subsequently temper their respective market prices, thus benefiting producers and consumers alike,” Dar said.

The 2022 GAA Special Provision No. 20 on Fuel Discount to Farmers and Fisherfolk, states that the amount of P500-million appropriated shall be used to provide fuel discount to farmers and fisherfolk when the average Dubai crude oil price based on Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) for three months reaches or exceeds Eighty Dollars (USD 80) per barrel.

Qualified to avail of the subsidy are farmers or fisherfolk who own and operate an agricultural and fishery machinery individually or through a farmer organization, cooperative or association.

In the case of fisherfolk, their fishing vessels must be registered in the Integrated Boat Registry System or DA-BFAR’s BOATR.

For the farm machinery owned and/or operated by individual farmers or farmers’ organization, they must provide proof of ownership.

In the same provision, the DA Regional Field Units and BFAR Regional Offices are mandated to issue fuel vouchers to qualified beneficiaries to claim the fuel discount, and likewise authorized to deduct one and half percent (1.5%) of said amount for administrative and other operational expenses.

“The DA shall furnish the Oversight Committee on Agriculture a copy of the implementing guidelines and submit quarterly reports on the implementation of the program,” as further stated in the provision.

For his part, DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan said that the targeted beneficiaries for the provision of fuel discount must be registered under the DA’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and BFAR’s fisherfolk registry system.

Cayanan said that the implementing guidelines of the fuel discount program have already discussed during his meeting last week with officials from the DA Regional Operations Group, national rice and corn program directorates, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Among the guidelines discussed were the prioritization criteria, amount of discount voucher to be provided to qualified beneficiaries, and creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will oversee the crafting and finalization of the guidelines and program implementation. The TWG will issue regular updates on the matter.