Zambales, Philippines – As oil firms are set to impose another big-time oil price hike this week, small fishers decry the “devastating impacts” of the sixth straight week of hikes to their livelihood.
In a statement, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), a progressive organization of small fisherfolk, said that the oil price increase “is hitting hard on the municipal fishing production”.
“This unstoppable skyrocketing oil prices push us to reduce the time we spend for fishing activities. From the regular 6 to 8 hours of fishing in a day, we need to cut it back to 4 to 6 hours because of expensive oil prices. The days we spend on the sea will also be reduced from the usual four to five days to only three days of a fishing trip in a week. Ultimately, this means a further diminution of our already small income and additional days of starvation,” Bobby Roldan, PAMALAKAYA Vice Chair for Luzon said in a statement.
Roldan, a municipal fisherman from Botolan, Zambales explained that if the price of crude oil will increase by up to P2 per liter this week from its current P40 per liter, a small fisherman who regularly consumes at least 10 liters of diesel per trip will have to prepare at least P420 per fishing operation for the fuel alone. The fisherfolk leader said that the oil expenses cover almost 80% of the entire production cost.
“Because of this, we’d rather lessen our fishing activities because our income is low as it is that it can’t even recover the ever-rising production costs. More often, we have to borrow money to carry out a fishing trip only to return with empty nets and ultimately be buried in debt by loan sharks,” Roldan decried.
The latest data available from the Department of Energy (DOE) indicate that year-to-date adjustments stand at a net increase of P15.10 per liter for gasoline, P12.95 per liter for diesel, and P10.65 per liter for kerosene as of September 28, 2021.
“The fisherfolk have been already battered with various livelihood crises brought about by the pandemic and successive natural calamities. Instead of providing subsidies and support, the government is openly plotting with big-time oil cartels to further impoverish these struggling sectors,” ended Roldan. ###