MANILA - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to implement the "Fuel Discount for Farmers and Fisherfolk Program," as provided under the Special Provision No. 20 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 or Republic Act (RA) 11639.
"We sincerely thank President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the honorable members of the Senate and House of Representatives for approving and appropriating P500 million for the fuel subsidy program that will benefit millions of Filipino farmers, fishers, and consumers nationwide," Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a news release on Monday.
"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," he added.
Under Special Provision No. 20 of 2022 GAA, a total of PHP500 million shall be used to provide fuel discounts to farmers and fisherfolk when prices of crude oil reach USD80 per barrel for three months.
"Provided, that the farmer or fisherfolk beneficiary owns and operates an agricultural and fishery machinery individually or through a farmer organization, cooperative or association: Provided, further, that in the case of fisherfolk, their fishing vessels are registered in the Integrated Boat Registry System or DA-BFAR's BOATR: Provided, finally, that for the farm machinery owned and/or operated by individual farmers or farmers' organization, proof of ownership shall be provided," the special provision read.
The DA Regional Field Units and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Offices shall issue fuel vouchers to qualified beneficiaries to claim the fuel discount, and to deduct 1.5 percent of the 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," it added.
DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan said 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.
Last week, Cayanan chaired a meeting of officials from the DA Regional Operations Group, national rice and corn program directorates, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to flesh out the implementing guidelines of the fuel discount program.
The program includes 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. (PR)