THE Department of Energy has proposed fuel discounts or subsidies for the agriculture sector to help it achieve food security for the Philippines.

At a recent virtual briefing, Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said the department is looking at various areas in the agriculture supply chain which it can aid to ensure ample food.

He said it is proposing that fuel retailers partner with fuel-dependent farming businesses and offer them discounts of about 30% on fuel.

The DoE heads a sub-committee on petroleum products under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) task group for food security, which is led by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Citing government data, Mr. Fuentebella said the agriculture sector bought P15 billion worth of petroleum products in 2019.

He said oil companies stand to benefit from selling in bulk to agriculture.

“At the end of the day, it’s really sales; papaano natin ma-improve ang supply chain at maging mas efficient tayo sa food security (how can we improve the supply chain and become more efficient in food security),” he added.

The DoE is also proposing that service stations offer retail space for fresh farm produce, following the lead of Petron Corp.

He said partnering with agriculture will be “win-win” for the oil industry.

The task group is also looking into streamlining the registration of renewable energy-powered harvesting facilities for fiscal incentives, such as income tax holidays and value-added tax exemptions.

The DoE noted that these renewable facilities with below 100-kilowatt-hour capacity are not registered with the department.

May napansin din kami na ‘di sila nag-re-register sa DoE to avail of fiscal or non-fiscal incentives,” he added. (We observed that they have not applying with the DoE for fiscal or non-fiscal incentives).

The DoE is currently issuing IATF passes to energy industry personnel to ensure their unhampered operations, including imports and the delivery of retail goods during the lockdown. — Adam J. Ang