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Solon lauds farmers cash assistance law

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ACT-CIS Partylist Representative and Benguet legislative caretaker Eric Go Yap lauded the passage of a bill seeking to grant cash aid to 1.673 million small rice farmers in the country.

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11598, known as the Cash Assistance to Filipino Farmers Act on 10 December 2021, which was passed by the House of Representatives as House Bill No. 9950 on 15 September 2021 and adopted by the Senate as Senate Bill No. 1927 on 21 September 2021.

This comes as the government continues to look for ways to mitigate the repercussions of declining palay prices and the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the agricultural sector.

“I commend the promptness of the President to heed the call in fast-tracking the provision of monetary assistance to our small rice farmers in lieu of their apparent and continuous obstacles, particularly the liberalization of rice importation in 2019 and the series of destructive typhoons that hit their farms every year,” said Yap.

“Such act from the Chief Executive coincides with my purpose of saving our small rice farmers, especially when I first filed this measure in Congress,” he added.

The new law mandates the Department of Agriculture (DA) to give assistance to small rice farmers, which include those who are tilling two hectares of land and below, until 2024. The program’s funding shall originate from the Department’s utilization of funds from the annual tariff revenues in excess of the P10 billion budget of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

“As the legislative caretaker of Benguet, where a significant portion of our population are small rice farmers, Duterte’s initiative and sense of urgency serves as beacon of hope for them and for the rest of our small rice farmers in the country as they immediately need support in light of the current state of declining palay prices and the crippling effects of Covid-19 pandemic,” said the lawmaker.

Determined to accelerate more programs for the agricultural sector, the solon highlighted the Constitutional mandate to recognize the rights of farmers and to provide support in agriculture through a wide array of assistance and services.

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