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'Subsidize shipping industry'

'Subsidize shipping industry'

Cebu: Shipping operators in the central Philippine island of Cebu are appealing to the national government to subsidize the shipping industry by offering special rates to the operators. Florentino Palacio, owner of Palacio Shipping Lines and former president of the Visayan Association of Ferry and Coastwise Shipowners and Operators (VAFSCO), issued the appeal yesterday after the government decided to reduce the import tariffs on crude oil and diesel from three percent to two percent to cushion the impact of the soaring prices of oil products. Palacio said the tariff cuts won't give relief to shipping companies in the Visayas. ''If the national government has subsidized the airline industry by offering special prices of its fuel, why not give that similar help to us,'' Palacio said in Cebuano. Palacio, did not specify a figure. He said that the shipping industry deserves a subsidy more than the airline industry since inter-island vessels cater to the poorest families.
Palacio said this one-percentage point tariff cut would only mean a P.48 centavo per liter decrease of diesel which is lower than the P2 increase posted in the last four months. ''There is no significance at all as far as the shipping companies are concerned,'' Palacio said. He said that if indeed the national government is sincere in helping the shipping industry, it should erase the P2 increase imposed in the last four months by P.50 centavos in four tranches.
Palacio also ruled out any possible reduction of fare.
'' Remember, we did not ask any increase when the diesel's price rose by P2 a liter so meaning to say that we still have to recover around P1.54,'' he added. [11/01/08]

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