DBM releases P8 billion for farmers’ subsidy

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
DBM releases P8 billion for farmers� subsidy
A farmer were seen hand-harvesting rice grains at a two-hectare field at Matangtubig in Baliuag, Bulacan on Sunday (July 10, 2022).
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management has released P8.05 billion in excess tariff revenues from the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) to assist more local rice farmers.

The DBM has released P8.05 billion to the Department of Agriculture to be allocated as a cash subsidy to some 1.5 million rice farmers in the country.

A total of 1.56 million eligible rice farmers will get P5,000 each within the second half.

Last year, the government secured P18.9 billion from rice tariff collections.

The P10 billion is mandated to be put into the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund annually to finance programs for farm mechanization, seed development, propagation and promotion, credit assistance, and extension services.

Any excess in tariff revenues are allocated for financial assistance to rice farmers, titling of agricultural rice lands, expanded crop insurance program, and crop diversification program.

The DBM issued a special allotment release order amounting to P8.95 billion in March, which was the excess tariff revenues, to the DA under the unprogrammed appropriations of the 2022 national budget.

An initial P894 million was already disbursed in May, benefiting 173,753 rice farmers.

The release of the cash allocation is in line with the implementation of the Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance program aimed at providing support to local farmers impacted by the RTL.

Budget chief Amenah Pangandaman said the immediate release of cash assistance could provide relief to rice farmers given the recent natural calamities.

“This unconditional cash assistance could also provide aid to the rice farmers in securing farm inputs such as fertilizer and farm machinery,” she said.

Apart from the subsidy, it also covers the service fee, including the cost of card generation, for the RCEF-RFFA under the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The RTL opened the floodgates for cheap rice imports in a bid to bring down the price of rice, which had been a major driver of inflation upticks prior to the law’s enactment.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said a review of the RTL is not a priority of the Marcos administration as the measure continues to benefit the majority of Filipinos.

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