More than 1.673 million small rice farmers would benefit once President Rodrigo Duterte signs into law the Cash Assistance to Filipino Rice Farmers Act.
“I strongly believe that our farmers need more support and assistance to cope up with the several challenges, especially now that we are in a pandemic, and their health is also at risk,” Senator Cynthia Villar said.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said the Cash Assistance for Filipino Rice Farmers Act of 2020 proposes that any amount in excess of the P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) collection by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) shall automatically be given as cash assistance to rice farmers who are tilling two hectares or less of rice land.
Data from the Registry System of Basic Sectors (RSBSA) showed this would cover some 1.673 million small rice farmers.
Villar said the country’s rice farmers are continuously facing many challenges brought about by the liberalization of rice importation in 2019, the series of destructive typhoons that hit their farms, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Any amount we give to our farmers will be a big help to augment their income and improve their poor living conditions,” she said.
According to Villar, excess collection in 2019 amounting to P2.135 billion and the P5.408 billion in 2020 were already allocated as cash assistance to rice farmers under the General Appropriations Act of 2021.