Agencies urged to expand coverage of fuel subsidy

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap urged concerned government agencies to expand the fuel subsidy program to the provinces, target relief to the agricultural sector and suspend the fuel excise tax to cushion the effects of the continued oil price increase.

Since January, the series of global fuel price increases had been implemented by the various oil forms in the country which warrants the implementation of an expanded fuel subsidy to the transport sector, so as to widen the reach and provide assistance to those in the provinces and countryside, Yap stated.

“With the tight global oil supply given the geopolitical tension between Russia and Ukraine and with the increasing demand for fuel as the general public goes back to ‘Normal,’ we are on the verge of crisis. The most affected group here are those in the transport and agricultural sector,” Yap added.

The lawmaker urged the immediate implementation and distribution of fuel subsidies to help the people withstand the prevailing difficult times.

Further, he called for the concerned agencies to set clear parameters and also prioritize those in the provinces, most especially those in food producing areas like Benguet, thus, the government should not forget those who are outside the Metropolitan who are equally, if not more, affected by the oil price surge.

“Our farmers in the province have to transport their produce from the farm to the market through mountainous terrain, which requires the vehicle to consume more fuel and oil. If oil prices continue to spike, the profit of our farmers will further diminish due to the significant increase in hauling costs from farm to market. Inevitably, the country’s food supply will also be at stake,” Yap noted.

According to him, this is an urgent matter and the government should move fast as the unwarranted oil price hikes will soon translate to fare hikes, higher electricity bills, spike in food prices, higher cost of transporting goods, among others, which should be avoided the soonest.

“We will lobby for the conduct of special sessions in Congress to collectively discuss and pass a measure automatically reducing or suspending the fuel excise tax once a certain price is reached. This shall benefit everyone, not only the transport sector. We have to ease the impact of the rising oil prices experienced by the ordinary Filipinos,” Yap said.

Yap asserted that there is a need to prepare the vulnerable and marginalized sectors to the expected impact of the series of oil price hike and other collateral effects that have a negative impact on the living condition of the people on the ground who are still reeling from the effects of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic over the past 2 years.

While it will be difficult for the country to rebound from the effects of the prevailing oil price hikes, Yap asserted that there should be sustainable programs that should be put in place that will ease the impact of the pandemic and the oil crisis in the ongoing recovery efforts.

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