House bill seeks to expand crop insurance, encourage private sector participation


The House of Representatives bill that seeks to expand the services of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation to all agricultural commodities and encourage the private sector to avail of its coverage is nearing approval.

Consolidated House Bill 7387, approved on second reading Wednesday, would amend Sections 1 and 3.11 of Presidential Decree 1467, which created the PCIC.

Principal author Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda said in a statement Friday that the bill mandates the expansion of the insurance services of the PCIC to all commodities and authorizes the agency to offer agricultural reinsurance services to private entities, including agricultural cooperatives, and farmers’ associations that will engage in agricultural insurance.

He said expanding the crop insurance system will effectively protect farmers from losses due to animal and plant diseases and pests such as the African swine fever and rice tungro baciliform virus, which may worsen in the future due to climate change.

Salceda explained that the country’s crop insurance currently covers mostly the mandatory crop insurance programs, but “we do not really have a significant private sector crop insurance system.”

“Because of climate change, however, we can expect more infestations in the future. While bioscience in agriculture has to evolve, we definitely also have to make sure the financial sector support programs are present,” said Salceda.

He said some provinces are still affected by ASF while RTVB, a viral infestation borne by the green leafhopper, has severely ravaged rice farms in his home province.

“We have to protect our farmers and our food resources. No other national security measure is more important in a country with such a large population to feed as ours,” Salceda said.

The bill aims to broaden agricultural insurance coverage by allowing the PCIC to offer reinsurance programs to private sector insurers. It also allows the government-run corporation to expand its portfolio in livestock insurance.

“By mitigating some of the risks to primary agricultural insurance, the PCIC will be able to lower the costs of private agricultural insurance,” he added.

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