Emergency cash assistance for farmers should amount to P20B – solon
Senator Francis Pangilinan said Filipino farmers hurting from the deluge of imported rice should immediately get P20 billion emergency cash assistance from collected tariffs and unprogrammed funds under the Rice Tariffication Act.
According to him, the immediate release of cash relief assistance is necessary for rice farmers’ survival as they lost an estimated P60 billion due to falling palay prices brought about by unrestrained rice imports allowed by the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Nandito tayo sa isang emergency situation. Ang kailangang dapat bigyang-pansin agad ay ang kalagayan ng ating mga magsasaka lalo na ngayong lean months at lalo na kapag dumagsa na ang bulto ng aanihin mula sa darating na September hanggang December,” he said.
In a privilege speech at the Senate on Tuesday, Pangilinan proposed several measures that needed to be done “to save our farmers and the rice industry.”
Signed into law February this year, Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law liberalized rice importation with tariff of 35 percent.
The law sets aside a P10-billion subsidy that will be given to the farm sector yearly for purchase of farm equipment; research and seed input; credit; and, trainings and seminars.
This amount is unprogrammed in the 2019 budget, and Pangilinan suggests that this P10 billion be given directly to rice farmers together with the P10-billion tariff already collected by the government, making available a total of P20 billion for immediate cash assistance to rice farmers.