Leading independent homegrown oil company Phoenix Petroleum is extending help to farmers and fisherfolk through a deal with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy. With various initiatives especially organized for the beneficiaries, the project aims to soften the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the country’s agriculture sector.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine measures imposed in different cities nationwide, distribution of agricultural goods has been affected, leaving farmers and fishermen with limited livelihood opportunities. We recognize the challenges that this crisis has brought upon Filipinos, including those in the agriculture sector,” said Phoenix Petroleum General Manager for Retail Sales Eric Inocencio.
Phoenix offers various means in helping by employing a multi-pronged approach. Targeting nearby residents as potential customers, Phoenix has provided spaces in participating retail stations in South and Central Luzon where farmers and fisherfolk may sell agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables from 6 AM to 2 PM daily up to December 31, 2020. The sellers are required to observe safety by practicing social distancing and wearing masks and face shields, and are limited to their designated areas to properly manage traffic.
“We are glad to come together with the DOE and DA, and provide opportunities to those in need even during this challenging period. With this initiative, we will be able to help farmers and fisherfolk by giving them a new channel to offer their products, and additional support that will alleviate their fuel expenses, and ultimately help soften the blow of the pandemic to their livelihood,” said Phoenix Senior Vice President Atty. Raymond Zorrilla.
To provide assistance in the transportation needs of the beneficiaries’ business operations, Phoenix is also extending fuel assistance through a special discount scheme to farmers and fisherfolk. Available at several retail stations in South and Central Luzon, the registered beneficiaries may avail of fuel discounts of up to Php 4.00 until the end of the year. A dedicated fleet program will also be developed especially for participating farmers and fisherfolk with substantial fuel requirements of at least 2,000 liters per month. Through this initiative, qualified applicants will be able to manage their consumption and enjoy additional features, including cashless transactions, varied payment terms, and comprehensive reports.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi recognized the invaluable contribution of the country’s oil companies in these trying times. “We are aware that the downstream oil sector was badly hit during the pandemic. Despite this, the oil companies immediately provided assistance to our frontliners, and now to our farmers and fisherfolk, who have also been badly affected by the crisis. The strength of the Filipino spirit never fails to shine through in the face of adversity,” he emphasized.
As additional help, Phoenix will also be donating Php 50,000 worth of fuel, which will be coursed through the Department of Agriculture.
Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar explained that while the partnership is initiated by DA, the private sector remains to be a strong ally of the government, and points out how important it is to work together, especially nowadays. “May pag-asa ang ating bayan na manalo rito laban kontra sa COVID-19 pandemic at may pag asa ang lahat ng mga Pilipino na aahon,” he said.
Aside from the recent partnership with the DOE and DA, Phoenix also executed other initiatives to help the agricultural sector. Through its mother corporation, Udenna, the oil company participated in the Sagip Saka program which transported produce from the province to Manila, helping farmers in Batangas and Laguna.