FUEL SUBSIDY. Farmers in Batac City, Ilocos Norte province line up for their gas coupons from the city government in this undated photo. This week, the provincial government, through its Sustainable and Development Office, is also rolling out a separate fuel subsidy program to cover farmers who have not received any gas coupon yet from the government. (Photo courtesy of the City Government of Batac)

LAOAG CITY – Close to 1,000 farmers from different towns in Ilocos Norte province have started receiving a fuel subsidy from the government this week.

On Thursday, an initial 320 farmers from Dingras and Marcos towns received PHP1,000 worth of fuel subsidy vouchers each which they can use at partner gas stations JLR Gas Station and Ashley’s Gas Station in their respective areas.

Gervy James Gumarit, head of the communications and media office, said a total of PHP998,000 has been allocated for the fuel subsidy program for 998 farmer-recipients in at least six municipalities of Ilocos Norte, using funds under the maintenance and other operating expenses of the Office of the Governor.

"The next batch of farmers from Bacarra with 198 recipients and Pasuquin with 160 recipients will receive their gas subsidy vouchers tomorrow, March 17, at the Flying V and El Arquillo Gas Stations,” he added.

The distribution will run until March 21, 2023.

With the rising cost of fuel, the governor earlier vowed to assist farmers through the localized fuel subsidy program in partnership with accredited gas stations in the province.

The beneficiaries for this batch are those who have not received any fuel subsidy from the government and whose names are enlisted in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

Aside from farmers, the Ilocos Norte government said it continues to distribute gas subsidies to all its public utility jeepney and tricycle drivers who are also affected by the rising cost of fuel.

In Batac City, a total of 3,222 tricycle drivers have received PHP1,500 each from the city government on March 14 to help them cope with fuel price hike.

Last year, the province's farmers who were hard-hit by the big-time oil price hike also got fuel subsidies from the government to sustain their crops this summer. (PNA)