House panels approve bill seeking to give cash aid to Filipino farmers

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2021 12:29 AM

House panels approve bill seeking to give cash aid to Filipino farmers 1
A farmer takes a break after rigorous hours of work in a Nueva Ecija ricefield. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Two House panels have approved a bill seeking to give cash assistance to Filipino farmers.

In a joint hearing Wednesday, the House committees on appropriations and agriculture approved House Bill 8964 or the “Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act of 2020,” as amended.

The measure seeks to tap as cash aid the excess of P10 billion collected from tariffs on rice imports as assistance to farmers owning one hectare or less of rice land until 2024.

Likewise, HB 8964 also allocates funds from the annual tariff revenues in excess of P10-billion, to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) under the Rice Tariffication Law.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said his department supports the bill.

Cayanan added that the DA recommends increasing the coverage of the measure to include the most number of beneficiaries possible.

Quezon 1st District Rep. Mark Enverga, chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, proposed that assistance to farmers should be given to those who are “farming” two hectares of rice land until 2024.

The bill will be submitted to the full House for consideration and approval on the 2nd and 3rd reading.

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