DA to release the IRR of Sagip Saka Act
After farmers showed single-digit average palay prices, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Sagip Saka Act of 2019 will be released within the week, as farmers continue to complain about the plummeting prices of palay.
The DA secretary William D. Dar confirmed that his office is in the final stage of drafting the IRR of Sagip Saka Act of 2019 or Republic Act 11321. This aims to increase farmers’ and fisher folks’ incomes by giving accredited farm enterprises direct access to consumers, including government agencies that need produce for their feeding programs, their employees’ rice allowance, etc.
The IRR includes the process of registering and accrediting farmers and fisher-folk cooperatives and organizations, as well as the Bureau of Internal Revenue guidelines on tax exemptions and requirements.
Worried about the palay situation, former food security secretary, Sen. Francis Pangilinan expressed gratitude towards the DA chief for speeding up the IRR which may be used to help the farmers as soon as possible.
“We are increasingly alarmed by report of farmers on the ground that palay prices are now as low as P7. We believe that Sagip Saka will be able to help cushion the devastating effects of the Rice Tariffication Law on our rice farmers,” he said.
Following the September 3 Senate hearing, Romeo Royandoyan of Centro Saka released the palay monitoring report of his and other farmers’ groups which shows that palay sells at P7-8 per kilo in Tarlac, P8 per kiko in Nueva Ecija, and P8-10 per kilo in Zamboanga, among others. This shows the loss of the farmers as production cost of palay is P12 per kilo.
“Let me just elaborate this point because the of the (Rice Tarrification) law is to help the farmers. The price of palay was at P20 before its implementation and now it has went down to P12, P8, P9? It has made life harder for the farmers,” Royandoyan said during the hearing.
The hearing was triggered by a privilege speech that Pangilinan delivered on August 13. He called for a Senate investigation into the effects of the Rice Tariffication Law to focus on proposed solutions to help rice farmers, including emergency relief in the form of cash assistance, and emergency employment of distressed farmers through the cash-for-work program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“We’d also like to see the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) lead its own emergency employment, especially in the rehabilitation its water systems. Agad, puwedeng magkaroon ng dagdag na trabaho ‘yung ating mga magsasaka at pagkakakitaan habang sinusubukan nilang malampasan itong mga problemang ito,” he said.