Government mulls extension of fuel aid program to food sector

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – As another oil price hike looms next week, the Aquino government is trying to put in place more mitigating measures to assist the food/agriculture sectors, a ranking energy official said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said it is studying the possibility of extending crude oil assistance for the agriculture sector upon the representation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

In a press briefing yesterday to members of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) in Clark, DOE Undersecretary Jose Layug warned of another price hike next week due to an uptick in international crude prices caused by the US-led bombings in Libya.

Layug said, based on their monitoring, the Libya attacks caused a $3 per barrel increase in international crude oil prices after the market dipped slightly following the Japan earthquake.

He said the continuing nuclear and radiation problem in Japan will force the earthquake and tsunami-stricken nation to revert back to the use of its gasoline and diesel-powered plants.

To mitigate the impact of the expected crude oil price hike, the DOE, along with other government agencies are studying various measures to help priority sectors such as the food/agriculture distribution sector, the public transportation sector, and the emergency and security sector, Layug said.

In fact, the DOE is seeking approval Gov’t mulls… From B-1

from the Department of Finance and Malacañang for a temporary, short-term, one-month fuel assistance/subsidy for jeepney and tricycle drivers, he said.

The fuel assistance/subsidy, Layug said, would come from excess revenue or savings of the government, particularly from the value-added tax on petroleum. The DOE earlier said it is eyeing a fund of between P400 million to P500 million in assistancefor the transport sector.

Additionally, Layug said the DOE, upon the representation of the DA and DAR is also drawing up a similar short-term assistance/subsidy program for farmers who use gasoline or diesel to operate their farm equipment. –Marianne V. Go (The Philippine Star)

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