Pangilinan urges DA to give P20-B emergency cash aid to farmers ASAP: Luging lugi na sila!
Senator Francis Pangilinan has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to release P20 billion in emergency cash assistance to farmers affected by the deluge of imported rice.
In a privilege speech Tuesday (August 13), Pangilinan said the immediate release of cash assistance is necessary for farmers to survive since they lost an estimated P60 billion due to falling palay prices resulting from the implementation of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Nandito tayo sa isang emergency situation. Ang kailangang dapat bigyang-pansin agad ay ang kalagayan ng ating mga magsasaka lalo na ngayong lean months at lalo na kapag dumagsa na ang bulto ng aanihin mula sa darating na September hanggang December,” he said.
Pangilinan said the DA can source the P20 billion from the tariff collected by the government as well as the estimated P10-billion subsidy mandated by law to be given to farmers annually.
Before the passage of the Rice Tariffication Law, Pangilinan said a farmer earns only P100,000 a year, below the poverty line of P108,000, and way below the average family income of P267,000 a year.
“But with the influx of rice imports, mas lumala ang kalagayan nila. Hindi na lalo mabayaran ang utang, lalong nababaon sa utang. Lalong nagugutom. Matatanda na rin ang mga rice farmers natin. Wala ng sumusunod sa yapak nila dahil sa hirap ng pagsasaka,” he said.