Over 1 million small rice farmers to receive P5,000 cash aid from 'excess tariff'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2020 08:45 AM

Farmers start to plant rice at a field in Barangay Simamla, Virac, Catanduanes on Nov. 7, 2020. George Calvelo, ABSCBN News

MANILA – Over 1 million rice farmers tilling 1 hectare or less will receive P5,000 cash assistance due to excess tariffs collected on rice imports, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar told Teleradyo the financial assistance was expected to be distributed in December, as rice farmers were grappling with the effects of COVID19 pandemic, Rice Tariffication Law and a string of typhoons that hit the country.

In October, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform approved a resolution giving cash aid to small rice farmers as a result of excess rice tariff revenues. This, after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected over P10 billion taxes on imported rice in July.

To qualify, farmerbeneficiaries should be listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), the agency said in a separate statement. The measure is similar to the previous legislated cash aid called Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RFFA) and Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF).

Meanwhile, Dar also reiterated they would strictly implement the price freeze on agricultural and fishery commodities and basic essential goods following the declaration of state of calamity in Luzon.

Under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act of the Philippines, price control on basic food commodities and basic necessities is automatically implemented in areas declared under a state of calamity for a period of not more than 60 days.

Dar warned traders from exploiting the situation, saying they would not hesitate to file cases against them if they engage in manipulating supply, hoarding and jacking up prices to the disadvantage of consumers.

“Alam nila halos lahat tayo apektado… Hinihikayat natin sila na tutulong po at huwag samantalahin na huwag masyadong mataas yung benta nila,” he said.

(They know almost everyone’s affected [by the calamities]… We are encouraging them to comply [with the price freeze] and not take advantage of situation and increase the prices.)

He said local government units (LGUs) would help monitor the strict implementation of price freeze in the public markets.

The list of basic agrifishery commodities per kilogram (kg) covered by the price freeze includes:

  • Milkfish (cagecultured) – P169
  • Tilapia (pondcultured, freshchilled) – P120
  • Round scad or galunggong (imported) – P180
  • Round scad or galunggong (local) – P140
  • Pork (pigue/kasim) – P260
  • Pork (liempo) – P280
  • Chicken (whole) – P130
  • Sugar (refined) – P50
  • Sugar (brown) – P45
  • Red onion (fresh) – P100
  • Garlic (fresh, imported) – P100
  • Rice (imported): special – P52; premium – P43; wellmilled – P38
  • Rice (local): special – P53; premium – P45; wellmilled – P40
  • Chicken egg (medium) – P6.50 per piece
  • Cooking oil (30 ml) – P25
  • Cooking oil (1 liter) – P50

The country’s agriculture sector has so far incurred over P12 billionworth of damage due to the successive typhoons that devastated parts of Luzon.

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