THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is considering the direct sale of diesel to fisherfolk to mitigate the impact of high fuel prices.

Demosthenes R. Escoto, BFAR officer-in-charge, said that the BFAR is trying to arrange access to diesel for fisherfolk at a lower price.

“We’ve initially talked with Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) because we are exploring the possibility of coming up with a direct sale of diesel for our fisherfolk. The PNOC told us to discuss this in detail with the Department of Energy (DoE), which in turn is asking for some data on the requirements of these fishers’ groups,” Mr. Escoto said last week.

“We will give them all the data and hopefully they can offer some sort of an arrangement wherein our fisherfolk can buy fuel at discounted price,” he added.

According to Mr. Escoto, the proposed discounted fuel will be an “industry to industry” arrangement, describing the BFAR’s role as facilitating the transaction.

“We will bring the fishers associations to talk with (the private sector) on the discounted fuel since we know that the price will go down with bulk purchasing,” Mr. Escoto said.

Fisherfolk association Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has said that high fuel prices will dampen fisheries production in the fourth quarter.

PAMALAKAYA added that fuel expenses, which account for 80% of overall production costs, are forcing members to take on other jobs due to the inability to operate their boats.

On Friday, the DoE said that there might be a P1 rollback next week in the price of all fuel products. Oil companies announce fuel price adjustments every Monday and implement the changes a day after.

On Oct. 25, oil companies implemented a P0.35 per liter decrease for gasoline, a P1.10 decrease for diesel, and a P0.45 decrease for kerosene. The adjustments bring the year-to-date price increases to P16.10/liter for gasoline, P37.40 for diesel, and P29.20 for kerosene.

Asked to comment, Federation of Free Farmers Raul Q. Montemayor national manager, said that subsidies need to be delivered efficiently to the fisherfolk.

“Fuel subsidies would be very helpful to small fishermen but (the BFAR) has to devise an efficient way to deliver the subsidy.”

He added that “As with many other commodities, fishermen get a very small percentage of what consumers pay for the seafood they buy. So, we also need to address the marketing side,” Mr. Montemayor said in a Viber message. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave