Gov't readies fuel subsidies for affected sectors

By Joann Villanueva

February 24, 2022, 8:05 pm

<p><em>File photo</em></p>

File photo

MANILA – Economic managers have vowed continued measures to help sectors affected by the rising fuel prices, including the PHP2.5-billion fuel subsidy program. 
In a statement Thursday, the inter-agency Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) said the fuel subsidy will be released through the Department of Transportation (DOTr). 
“This aims to provide fuel vouchers to over 377,000 qualified PUV (public utility vehicle) drivers who are operating jeepneys, UV express, taxis, tricycles, and other full-time ride-hailing and delivery services nationwide,” it said. 
Prices of crude oil in the international market have reached around USD92 per barrel as of this week, thus, the rise in domestic oil prices. 
The DBCC said as of February 17, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) forecast Dubai crude oil price for this year to average at USD83.3 per barrel but prices were “expected to decelerate to USD 79.0 by the end of this year based on the latest oil futures.”
The economic managers said the committee “is closely monitoring the factors affecting the oil prices in the country.”
“Given recent developments, the government remains ready to provide targeted relief assistance and support to address the impact of the oil price hike for affected sectors, especially public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers, farmers, and fisherfolk,” they said. 
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated PHP500 million for fuel discounts for “farmers and fisherfolk who either individually own and operate agricultural and fishery machinery or operate through a farmers organization or cooperative.” 
“This will help mitigate the impact of elevated fuel prices on production and transport costs of farm and fishery products,” the statement said. 
The DBCC said the government is also pursuing a “holistic value chain approach” to ensure an adequate and affordable food supply amidst the rising oil prices.
This includes DA’s support to various proposed measures in Congress, such as Senate Bill No. 139 or the Philippine Livestock Development Industry Act, and Senate Bill No. 2176 or the Affordable Pork Act to “help ease possible domestic supply constraints and prevent second-round effects on prices.” 
“The DBCC remains committed to taking decisive action to ensure the unhampered supply of goods and services despite the rising oil prices amid the pandemic. These will support our full recovery and sustained growth in 2022 and beyond,” it added. (PNA)