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May 2024

Marcos okays P12.7-B financial aid to rice farmers

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved and ordered the release of P12.7 billion for the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) to help about 2.3 million small rice farmers amid some agricultural challenges in the country, Malacañang announced Saturday.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. brings the smuggled premium rice confiscated by the Bureau of Customs to Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte for distribution to the beneficiaries of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) on Friday (Sept. 29, 2023). | (JOEY RAZON/NIB-PNA)

Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said that Marcos made the order on Thursday in a bid to help farmers “cope with the increasing production cost and sustain their productivity.” “[This would] help them cope with the increasing cost of production and sustain their productivity even in the face of challenges like the coming El Niño [phenomenon],” the President said, referring to the government’s RFFA.

Under the RFFA, each beneficiary registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will receive P5,000 financial assistance.

This was sourced through the excess tariff collection from rice importations in 2022, amounting to around P12.7 billion.

The RFFA beneficiaries include those in the farm cooperatives associations, irrigators associations, agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations, small water impounding systems associations, and other farm groups.

The program is an unconditional financial assistance for farmers tilling below two hectares of land as mandated under Republic Act (RA) 11598, or the Cash Assistance to Filipino Farmers Act of 2021. Meanwhile, the President also approved the utilization of P700 million in excess tariff collections for the “Palayamanan Plus” conditional cash transfer under the Household Crop Diversification Program.

The program ensures that RSBSA-registered farmers, who are also listed in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will enjoy food, nutrition, and income security.

Around 78,000 beneficiaries are expected to receive the Palayamanan Plus conditional cash transfer of P10,000 each.

The two proposed financial assistance packages support the Masagana Rice Industry Development Programs.

In his speech on rice distribution during the rice distribution in Surigao del Norte on Friday, Marcos assured the public that his administration will not stop looking for sustainable solutions to address the agricultural issues in the country gearing toward a “New Philippines.” The President also emphasized that providing financial assistance to affected farmers is just one of the steps of the administration to sustain their source of income.

Aside from providing financial assistance to rice farmers, Marcos has also led the distribution of thousands of sacks of rice to 4Ps beneficiaries in Tungawan, Zamboanga City; Barangay San Roque, Zamboanga City; Barangay Santiago, General Trias, Cavite; Iriga City, Camarines Sur; and San Andres Manila.

Before this, the President extended P15,000 in financial assistance to small rice retailers and sari-sari store owners affected by the implementation of Executive Order 39, which imposed a price cap on regular milled and well-milled rice. QR Code

Published Date: September 30, 2023

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