By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
A local fisherfolk group lamented that the implementation of the second tranche of excise tax on fuel and gasoline this year as it will be the “finishing blow” to the livelihood of the fishing sector, which is considered as the country’s poorest of the poor.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the government will impose ₱2-per-liter excise tax on diesel and gasoline products and ₱1 per kilogram on liquefied petroleum gas and ₱1 per liter on kerosene by the start of 2019.
This means a ₱2-per-liter will add up to the current ₱50/liter of gasoline.
Starting this year, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said, an additional ₱24 will be added to the production cost of a small fisherfolk who regulary consumes 12 liters of gasoline per fishing trip.
“We’d been flogged with the impacts of oil price hike in the past year with no government support and subsidy. Given the successive typhoons and calamities in 2018, nothing has left for us. Now the government is openly plotting to further impoverish us for two consecutive years by implementing another portion of an anti-poor tax reform law,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said.
“Starting this year, for every fishing operation of three to four days in a week, a small fisherfolk who consumes gasoline of 12 liters will now have to prepare a whopping ₱2,496 for the gasoline alone,” he added
“Other production costs such as food and maintenance of fishing equipments are not yet included. What’s worse is that the output of every fishing trip does not guarantee that it will recover the production cost due to the current trend of fish catch depletion which now ranges from two to five kilos per operation, as well as other natural phenomenon such as typhoons and bad weather conditions,” he also said.
The group said that the fisherfolk does not need a hefty tax reform law that will only worsen the situation of the poorest sectors.
Hicap said what they need is affordable basic commodities and social services to make fisherfolk more productive citizens.