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House allots extra P3B for palay purchase from local farmers

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House leadership has secured an additional P3 billion to finance the procurement of palay reserves from local farmers to help address the negative effects of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano made the pronouncement following his speech after the third reading passage of the the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget last Friday evening.

Cayetano said the House appropriations panel chair and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab has found a way to augment the budget of the Department Agriculture’s (DA) P7-billion program which will be used to procure palay stocks from local farmers at a reasonable price.

“Sid Ungab has already found P3 Billion to add to P10 billion, but we would like to go higher than P10 billion,” he said.

He admitted that there was a consensus among congressmen to boost funding for government procurement of local rice since the surge of rice imports in the first half of 2019.

“So far, there seems to be a consensus that we should add to the P7-billion fund to buy palay to help our farmers,” said Cayetano.

“Yung pandagdag ng pambili ng palay ay balewala din kung hindi kumprehensibo ang ating approach sa family size farming and making this type of farming and agrarian reform effective in our country,” he added.

The DA under its proposed P71.8-billion budget for 2020 has only about P7 billion allotment for the National Food Authority (NFA) to purchase palay from local farmers.

NFA is mandated under the law to purchase rice stocks from local farmers as a form of assured income.

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