Bicol farmers to get cash aid under Rice Tariffication Law

By Connie Calipay


The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol will provide cash assistance to some 111,880 rice farmers in the region under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) program.


Emily Bordado, DA-Bicol spokesperson, said they would provide the validated rice farmers their Intervention Monitoring Card that will serve as identification and cash cards.


The RCEF-RFFA beneficiaries are listed under the registry system for basic sectors in agriculture and whose farmlands are two hectares and below.


“The DA has already transferred P446.7 million to Development Bank of the Philippines to be distributed to the first batch of farmers, while DA is still waiting for the SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) of the P118.8-million RCEF-RFFA fund to be transferred to the Land Bank of the Philippines,” Bordado said in an interview.


SARO is issued so that the obligations of an agency will not exceed a given amount during a specified period for the purpose indicated.


“Ito ay nagpapakita na kung ang isang commodity industry ay maganda ang monetary support ay mas mataas at mas marami ang outcome and impact nitong program and one of the reasons why we are now bringing higher levels of rice productivity is the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund that came from the Rice Tariffication Law,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during the kickoff of the distribution of the P5,000 cash aid to some 100 rice farmers of Albay province.


DA-Bicol Director Rodel Tornilla said the 111,880 rice farmers set to receive the RCEF-RFFA aid are from Albay, 28,296; Camarines Norte, 7,843; Catanduanes, 5,605; Masbate, 17,829; Sorsogon, 18,705; and Camarines Sur, 33,602.


“The funds for the RCEF-RFFA came from the excess tariffs from the P10-billion RCEF institutionalized through the Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law. The law seeks to improve rice farmers’ income and lower the cost of rice production by 30 percent through the provision of machinery, seeds credit card, and extension,” he said.


The DA partnered with Squidplay Technology for the distribution of cash assistance until the end of the year.


Dar also turned over P45.97 million worth of interventions from various bureaus and attached agencies of DA.


The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority will give away abaca planting materials worth P508,400; the Philippine Coconut Authority P444,015 for coconut planting projects; and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources a P1.3-million processing center for sea urchin, abalone, sea cucumber, and other fishery commodities to Bacacay Fisheries Marketing Coop, as well as bottom set gill nets worth P256,000.


Likewise, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization will release six units of threshers worth P2 million to six farmer associations. (PNA)