TRAIN’s oil-price increase detriments small-fisherfolk

TRAIN’s oil-price increase detriments small-fisherfolk23754698_1796267100666606_4299727794566805216_n.jpg

Manila, Philippines –The fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) decries the evident impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) on the fishing sector, particularly the abrupt oil price hike that affects small-scale fisherfolk who regularly consume gasoline or diesel for their fishing operations.

Based on the group’s initial investigation on the fishing capital Navotas City, price of gasoline as of January 04, 2018 has surged up to P49.20 per liter from P43 per liter before the new tax reform has been implemented. This means a small fisherfolk who regularly consumes 12 liters of gasoline per fishing trip have to prepare at least P600 from P516 for the gasoline alone. PAMALAKAYA said the cost of petroleum products eats up almost 80% of their production trip.

Other production costs include food needs of the boat owner and its companion which costs P150, and the tricycle fare to buy gasoline in the market that costs P40. Now a total of P790 from P706 is needed to cover the production cost per fishing trip of 6-8 hours.

The group noted that the output of every fishing trip does not usually guarantee that it can recover the amount spent during the production due to prevalent decrease of the municipal fish catch, which now ranges from 2-5 kilos per fishing trip. Because they can’t even earn the cost of production, fisherfolk have to borrow money with excessive interest rates to cover the production costs of their next fishing operation, making them buried in debt.

The fisherfolk is already battered by numerous issues besetting the fishing sector; namely, the fish catch depletion due to corporate plunder of marine resources, the anti-fisherfolk law that allows commercial fishing fleets to exploit municipal waters, and the government’s lack of support to our sector. Now the skyrocketing prices of oil products under the new tax-reform law will exacerbate the miserable condition of the country’s poorest of the poor,”

“Because of TRAIN’s oil-price hike, fisherfolk have to cut their fishing trip from the regular 6-8 hours to 4-6 hours, they also have to reduce their fishing days from the average of 4-5 days a week to 3 days a week. This also means diminution of their already small income and days of starvation,”

“We want to remind President Duterte that the small-scale fishers do not have a regular income so the decrease of income tax is actually worthless to us, but whether we like it or not, we would be bearing the brunt of unbridled increase of basic commodities and oil products,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

The group calls for the scrapping of TRAIN that is a burden not only to the fishing sector but to all the hardworking Filipino people.

We don’t need a new tax-reform law that will only worsen the condition of the poor, working Filipino people, but an affordable basic commodities and social services that will make us more productive citizens,” ended Hicap. ###

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