The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), has distributed fuel subsidies to hundreds of fisherfolk in Central Luzon on March 21, 2022 following a series of nationwide oil price increase this month heightened by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Out of the 79,365 fisherfolk the DA-BFAR is targeting to provide with a fuel discount cash card amounting to Php 3,000.00 until next month, the agency has already given cash cards to 222 fisherfolk during the project’s launching at the Subic Fish Port in Zambales. DA-BFAR has identified 6,709 fisherfolk-beneficiaries from Region III, out of which 3,352 fisherfolk are from the province of Zambales.

“Tayo sa pangingisda at pagsasaka, tuluy-tuloy pa dapat natin na itaguyod na dapat ‘yung pangingisda ay hindi mahinto—‘yung pangingisda ay hindi mahihinto. ‘Yung pagsasaka ay hindi mahinto. Kasi ang bansa ay nangangailangan ng sapat na pagkain. Huwag nating pabayaan na mayroong magugutom na Pilipino. Itong panahon ng krisis, ipakita po natin na kaya nating buhayin ang Pilipinas,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said. [We must continuously promote the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Fishing must not stop. Farming must not stop because our country is in need of sustenance. Let us not allow the Filipino people to get hungry. In this time of crisis, let us show that we can provide sustainable food security in the Philippines.]

The Department of Agriculture implemented the Fuel Discount for Farmers and Fisherfolk Program in accordance with the Special Provision No. 20 of the Republic Act No. 11639, otherwise known as the General Appropriation Act for the Fiscal Year 2022. Through the staunch support of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the reallocated amount of P250 million to the fisheries sector shall be used to provide fuel discounts that will benefit both producers and consumers.

To avail of the fuel subsidy, eligible fisherfolk and/or members of fisherfolk cooperatives and associations must be registered under the fisherfolk registration program or FishR, must be using motorized bancas with three gross tons or below and registered under the boat registration program or BoatR, and must be using environment-friendly fishing gears.

The fuel discount cash cards will be distributed to beneficiaries, in coordination with the Development Bank of the Philippines, through the BFAR regional offices. An additional P600 million is set to be injected into DA’s fuel subsidy program in April 2022, totaling up to P1.1 billion budget for the program. This is in line with President Duterte’s approval of an additional P12 billion budget allocation for food mobilization efforts.

The Bureau recognizes the indispensable role of fisherfolk in attaining national food security amid the constant increase in prices of oil and oil products. Through the DA’s Fuel Discount for Farmers and Fisherfolk Program, the government remains steadfast in effectively communicating the needs of producers and consumers to ensure that the Filipino people will have food on their table.