Vice presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan sought an explanation from the Department of Agriculture on the delayed release of “Pantawid Palaot” or fuel subsidy to fishers and farmers as the biggest price increase in oil products took effect on March 15.
“Matagal nang kailangan ng tulong pero walang dumadating,” Pangilinan said.
Prices of diesel will increase by at least P13 per liter while gasoline by P7 in what is so far the biggest round of hike following successive spikes.
The veteran legislator said many small fishermen are finding it hard to go out to sea because they have to shell out extra money for fuel.
In his recent visit to a fishing community in Pangasinan, the seasoned lawmaker said fishers lamented they fall deep in debt from expenses to be able to fish such as fuel and nets.
“Iyong lambat namin, pag nadaanan ng malaking barko, wasak, bibili na naman ng bago,” one fisherman narrated.
They also said that there are days when the catch is few, enough only to feed the family. Nothing is left to be sold in the market where they could get a little cash for their other expenses.
“Ito ang nakakalungkot na realidad ng ating mangingisda, kapos ang kita, may utang pa. Parang nagtatrabaho na lang para pambayad sa utang,” the senator said.
“Mas malawak ang ating karagatan kaysa sa lupa, maraming oportunidad kumita kung may sapat na tulong ang gobyerno.”
“Mas malawak ang ating karagatan kaysa sa lupa, maraming oportunidad kumita kung may sapat na tulong ang gobyerno,” he said.
“Kahit anong sipag nila, kung hindi mabibigyan ng suporta, walang mangyayari,” Pangilinan added.
He earlier filed a bill pushing for the creation of a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR).
“As an archipelago with the fifth-longest coastline in the world, the Philippines has enough fish for the Filipinos and does not need to import.”
As an archipelago with the fifth-longest coastline in the world, he said the Philippines has enough fish for the Filipinos and does not need to import.
This was echoed by the Pangasinan fishermen who said: “Tangkilikin kaming mga mangingisda, ‘wag kaming pabayaan. Kung walang mangingisda, walang makakain. Hindi naman tayo pwedeng kumain ng bato.”