MANILA, Philippines — Vice-presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday urged the government anew to immediately put in place mechanisms that will abate the surge in oil prices amid the Ukraine-Russia war.
“Ang daing ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda ay yung tulong ay hindi nararamdaman. Para maramdaman iyon, dapat madaliin at bilisan [ang release],” he said, referring to the P500 million fuel subsidy for farmers and fisherfolk and P2.5 billion for public transport workers.
Additionally, Pangilinan pushed for the immediate implementation of Sagip Saka Act, especially by national and local governments which are now mandated to buy food for their various programs directly from farmers and fisherfolk organizations.
This way, the farmer-advocate said, local food producers would have a steady market, ensuring income for them. Consequently, they would be encouraged to produce more, resulting in higher supply, lower prices, and the easing of hunger.
“Kaya hello pagkain, goodbye gutom,” he said.
According to Pangilinan, the price to pay for Filipinos as a result oil prices surge include skyrocketing of basic commodities such as food.
“Galaw-galaw dahil patuloy ang paghihirap ng ating mga kababayan gawa ng nangyayaring giyera sa pagitan ng Ukraine at Russia. Muling nagtaas ang presyo ng gasolina at bunga nito ang tuluy-tuloy na pagtaas din ng presyo ng mga bilihin,” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.
“Napapabalita na muling tataas ang gasolina sa susunod na linggo. Ano na lang ang matitira sa ating mga kababayan? Bigyan naman natin sila ng dignidad,” he added.
Pangilinan repeated his call for the suspension of the excise tax on fuel products to curb the potential effect of the oil price increase to food prices and transportation costs.
“Kaya naman talagang malagpasan ang krisis na ito at maibsan ang paghihirap ng mga Pilipino. The only question is: is the government willing to take action or will it keep a blind eye to the suffering of the ordinary Filipinos?” Pangilinan said.