3rd tranche of TRAIN law to further jack up fishers’ costs
The country’s fisherfolk are already bracing for the impact of the last tranche of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act as their fuel costs are expected to increase by P1,000 a month with its implementation—a seemingly small amount but a huge sacrifice for the majority of Filipino fishermen who remain below the national poverty line.Militant fishing group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a statement that since the law’s implementation in 2018, oil prices had surged to P9 per liter of gasoline, while P4.50 per liter for diesel.
For the third tranche, the excise tax on gasoline, diesel and kerosene would increase to P1, P1.50 and P1 a liter, respectively. This would result in an additional P1,000 in fuel costs for the sector, based on the group’s study.
“Under the first and second tranches of the TRAIN law, the price of diesel has surged up to P40 per liter in 2018 from P36 per liter before the reform took effect. This means a small fisher who regularly consumes 12 liters of diesel spend between P432 and P480 for fuel alone … For a month, they are burdened with an additional P1,000 in fuel cost due to the TRAIN law,” Pamalakaya said.
Currently, petroleum products eat up between 60 and 80 percent of a fisherman’s production cost. Catching various kinds of fish entails going out into the deep through boats, which needs fuel to run.
As such, fisherfolk have to cut fishing trips to 4 to 6 hours from 6 to 8 hours, as well as the fishing days to three days a week from the previous average of four to five days a week.
Moreover, the group decried that the output of every fishing trip does not usually guarantee that fishermen could recover the amount they spent, especially with the continuing decline in municipal fish catch.
“What we need is a support to our livelihood, not another oil price increase through tax reform law that would bury the poorest sector in debt,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said.
Farmers and fishermen were consistently ranked among the country’s basic sectors, as reflected in government data. Since the implementation of the TRAIN law, fisherfolk have yet to receive substantial assistance from the government.
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