Villar favors loans to farmers
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Cynthia Villar is backing the government’s move to provide loans to farmers instead of just giving cash doleouts to make them more responsible amid the continued drop in palay (unhusked rice) prices due to liberalization.

“I am biased against dole outs because I want farmers to have more responsibility. So for me it is okay to give it as a loan, interest free,” Villar told The STAR.

“Then let us see if they can pay, if they can, then that’s a good sign. They are becoming more responsible,” said Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food and the principal author of the Rice Tariffication Law.

The DA recently said it would no longer implement its planned cash assistance for farmers due to lack of budget and would instead provide P1.5 billion in loans.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council agreed  to provide a one-time loan assistance of P15,000 per farmer.

“Any collection in excess of the P10 billion, you can give as cash assistance. They thought that it is better that you give it as a loan. There will be more responsibility because if is dole out, the farmers might just take it for granted,” Villar said.

“That is their decision and it’s a strategy we can never tell. And also, there will be more. That P1.5 billion is for six months, after that there will be another depending on the collections. They might do another one,” she said.

The DA originally planned to provide P3,000 to P5,000 to some 1.1 million rice farmers tilling one hectare of land and below which would cost the government around P6 billion.

The ACPC instead approved the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid).

Interested rice farmers can avail of the program beginning Sept. 1.

CYNTHIA VILLAR
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