Under the measure, the P600 per month in rice subsidy for the beneficiaries of the CCT program, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, would be pooled and used by the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy palay from farmers at P19 per kilo.
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Duterte backs use of CCT funds for palay buying
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte is supporting a bicameral initiative in Congress to allow the use of billions in funds for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program for palay buying to prop up the price of the produce of millions of rice farmers.

Through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the Office of the President (OP) yesterday submitted to the House committee on agriculture a draft joint House-Senate resolution containing the congressional authority for such use.

The OP said its draft is similar to the House version of the joint resolution.

If the two chambers come up with a common version, the OP said it would consider recommending that the President certify it as urgent to speed up its passage and eventual enactment into law.

The committee on agriculture chaired by Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga voted at yesterday’s hearing to approve the House version of the joint resolution.

Under the measure, the P600 per month in rice subsidy for the beneficiaries of the CCT program, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, would be pooled and used by the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy palay from farmers at P19 per kilo.

The NFA would mill the palay and distribute the rice to CCT recipients at 20 kilos each. This means that instead of cash, CCT beneficiaries will receive rice.

The joint resolution states that the rice subsidy portion of the 4Ps budget for this year still has a balance of almost P7 billion, which is equal to the NFA’s palay procurement budget.

Additionally, the measure authorizes the transfer to the NFA, also for palay buying, some P2.9 billion similarly appropriated for rice subsidy for soldiers, policemen and other uniformed personnel like those in the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

These personnel too would receive 20 kilos of rice each month from the NFA instead of cash.

Lawmakers are hoping the scheme would force palay-buying prices up.

The congressional authority would be initially limited to rice subsidy funds still available for this year. If it proves effective in propping up palay prices, it may be extended to cover next year’s subsidies.

During the hearing, director Gemma Gabuya of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) informed the Enverga committee that they had agreed with Senate committee on agriculture chair Cynthia Villar to pilot-test the scheme in Regions 1 to 6 once the joint resolution is enacted.

 

 

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