San Fernando, Pampanga—About 500 farmers from two cities and three towns of Pampanga have received cash cards with P15,000 each under the Department of Agriculture’s Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers.
The DA, through the Land Bank of the Philippines, distributed P7.7 million in cash loan for the farmers in the cities of Mabalacat and Angeles and towns of Candaba, Magalang, and Sta. Rita.
The distribution of the cash cards was held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in coordination with the Provincial Government of Pampanga.
Another batch of farmers from other towns in Pampanga will also receive their cash cards on November 15, the provincial government said in a statement.
Benjamin Baltazar, operations officer of the DA in Central Luzon said 33,000 farmers who are only cultivating one hectare of land or less are the most seriously affected by the low prices of imported rice and will be granted P15,000 in loans each.
Baltazar said they will also receive a P5,000 as a grant from the national government after the rules and regulations for distributing the funds are finalized.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier said that more farmers in Central Luzon will be able to avail themselves of the zero-interest loan to help cushion the effects of the Rice Tariffication Law.
DA Regional Director Crispulo Bautista previously said that in Pampanga alone, there are around 4,000 farmer-beneficiaries.
Rolando Santos, Assistant Vice President and head of the lending center of the Land Bank here, said the SURE Aid second phase of distribution will continue up to Dec. 25 of the current fiscal year.
Under the program, Santos said farmers must pay an annual amortization of P1,000 but with zero percent interest from 2020 to 2027.
In a related event, the best cooperatives were feted during the celebration of the 3rd cooperative day held here recently.
Awardees included ASSCOM Multipurpose Cooperative, which was adjudged as the best in the large scale category; Romana Pangan District Hospital Multi Cooperative in the medium; and PRO-3 PNP Multipurpose Cooperative in the small category, which was also cited Best in Financial Management.
Pampanga Provincial Board Member Anthony Joseph Torres of 2nd District, chairman of the committee on cooperatives, said the awards are meant to motivate co-ops to strive for development for the benefit of the shareholders of small and medium industries.