Philippine Daily Inquirer
House panel OKS bid to give poor farmers rice instead of cash subsidy
The House agriculture and food panel on Wednesday approved a measure that would replace the P600-per-month rice subsidy for beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer with actual rice bought from local farmers affected by the influx of cheap imported rice due to the rice tariffication law.
The panel chaired by Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga endorsed for plenary consideration a joint resolution that would authorize the use of the P33.9-billion allocation for rice subsidies in the 2019 budget for the purchase of palay or unhusked rice from farmers.
The resolution would also allow government agencies to distribute the monthly rice subsidy in the form of actual rice instead of cash.
Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs Adelino Sitoy gave assurances that the measure would be certified as urgent.
The joint resolution was authored by seven lawmakers, including Enverga, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.
Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program currently receive cash grants, including P600 in rice subsidy equivalent to about 20 kilos of rice.
The rice tariffication law, or RA 11203, was meant to give access to cheap rice but allowed the unimpeded importation of rice with corresponding tariffs. The law caused a drastic drop in the price of local palay.