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Poe pushes expanded government fuel subsidy program to cover fisherfolk.

Sen. Grace Poe, citing new rounds of oil price hikes, is poised to press for expanded coverage of the government's fuel subsidy for jeepney operators to include fisherfolks.

'That is what I want to focus assistance on: If jeepney drivers are being given fuel vouchers, is it not right to also grant fishermen the same subsidy given by government?' Poe pointed out in a dialogue with a Zambales-based fishing community.

The senator noted that oil companies have increased fuel prices six times this year 'but imposed only a single rollback of oil prices.'

'The price of gasoline, which is essential in your fishing trips, had gone up,' Poe told the fisherfolks at the dialogue also attended by former Sen. Lito Lapid.

She suggested that the Duterte administration 'should be ready to assist fishermen and provide them sustainable livelihood options.'

Poe acknowledged that many Filipinos heavily rely on fishing as their source of livelihood given the country's vast coastlines and rich marine resources, but fisherfolk remain among the poorest sectors of society.

Citing estimates that there are around 1.8 million engaged in fishing in the Philippines, Poe added, 'We should keep a keen watch on the economics of our livelihood, and I am one with all of you, fully cognizant on the impacts of the fishing industry to our everyday lives.'

As chairman of the Senate Public Services Committee, Poe's office continues to monitor the implementation of social mitigating measures under the tax-reform package, even as she had urged the Department of Transportation to distribute the Pantawid Pasada cards to jeepney franchise holders amid reports that some 80,000 assistance cards are still unclaimed.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 28, 2019
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