Rice farmers seek bigger financial aid

The one-time financial assistance that the Senate directed the Department of Agriculture (DA) to provide to rice farmers amid the declining prices of palay would not be enough, a group of rice farmers said. (MB file, Keith Bacongco) Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) National Manager Raul Montemayor said rice farmers have lost an average of P10,000 per hectare in the ongoing cropping season due to severely depressed palay prices.   This was his response to the joint resolution recently passed by the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, which ordered the DA to appropriate some P3 billion in tariffs from rice imports through the 2021 national budget for cash aid to rice farmers. Under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which allowed unlimited rice importation in the Philippines, tariff collections in excess of P10 billion per year can be used for additional support to farmers, including cash transfers. FFF, however, noted that the proposed appropriation would only provide P5,000 per farmer if distributed to some 600,000 farmers tilling one hectare or less.   If the actual number of qualified farmers is raised to 1.1 million, the subsidy would only amount to about P2,700 per farmer. Either proposal will be unfair to equally affected rice farmers tilling larger areas, the farmers’ group said.   Instead, Montemayor said the government could keep palay prices stable by temporarily imposing safeguard duties or additional tariffs on imported rice. “The government allowed unlimited rice imports, resulting in low palay prices.  Now, it will spend P3 billion to partially offset farmers’ losses. If it had instead imposed additional duties on imports, palay prices would not have dropped too much, there would have been no need for cash aid to farmers, and the government might have even earned extra revenues from the safeguard duties,” said Montemayor. Under the Section 10 of RTL or Republic Act (RA) 11203, in order to protect the Philippine rice industry from sudden or extreme price fluctuations, a special safeguard duty on rice shall be imposed in accordance with Safeguard Measures Act.   R.A. 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act, on the other hand, allows additional safeguard duties on top of regular tariffs in case an import surge is shown to be harmful to local farmers.   “Safeguard duties will not be inflationary as claimed by the DA, because they will be applied only when there is already a proven oversupply in the market.  They can be removed once the situation stabilizes,” said Montemayor. Agriculture Secretary William Dar is not keen on slapping additional tariff on rice imports, and has repeatedly appealed for public understanding about the “short-term” effects of RTL to palay prices. However, he promised to look for other solutions to the plea of the farmers like asking the National Food Authority (NFA), which buys palay at P19 per kilogram (/kg) to boost the government’s buffer stock, to intensify its palay procurement.   Instead of cash aid, the FFF proposed that existing funds from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and extra tariff collections be re-focused to address current problems of farmers.   It noted that half of farmers receiving free seeds under the RCEF had already been using certified seeds in the past, and that many were seeking other types of support that were not available under RCEF.   Numerous farmers have also questioned the DA’s promotion of seed varieties like NSIC Rc222, which is of poor quality and are being shunned by traders. “Also, the P5 billion annual fund for mechanization is not moving well, and it might be more practical at this time to preserve job opportunities for farm laborers instead of displacing them with machines,” Montemayor said.   “Moreover, the P1 billion budget for extension and training could be realigned, considering that farmers cannot attend training activities due to COVID-related restrictions. The P1 billion for credit could be better used for interest rate subsidies or loan guarantee programs, instead of direct loans which will benefit only 20,000 farmers,” he added......»»

Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnOct 19th, 2020

Govt urged: Aid affected farmers

Senator Cynthia Villar on Thursday called on the government to give farmers financial assistance from the Rice Enhancement Fund to help them recover from the P10 billion in losses incurred by the agricultural sector from the successive typhoons. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 26th, 2020

Addressing mental health amid a pandemic

BETTER DAYS Senator Sonny Angara Mental health has historically been a difficult subject to talk about in Philippine society. Many of us, no doubt, have our own stories, personal or otherwise, of how difficult it is to seek help. In fact, in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, an August, 2020, analysis of many studies on the matter confirmed that the low utilization of mental health services among Filipinos could be attributed in part to the stigma associated with mental health issues, with resilience and self-reliance becoming possible alternate coping strategies. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made mental health an even bigger issue. The quarantine, the economic effects of the pandemic, and the anxieties brought about by the virus’ unpredictability have had a negative effect on the mental health of many Filipinos. Although we as a country are consistently rated to be in the Top 5 of a global optimism index, according to the DOH, the calls for help have been increasing. According to the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), their helpline received about 400 calls monthly from May, 2019, to February, 2020. That’s an average of 13 to 15 calls daily. By March, 672 calls were serviced, and this grew steadily in the following months, until there were 1,034 calls in July – and 440 for the half of August. These double the monthly average from March to August to 876 calls, or 32 to 37 calls daily. Many government and private mental health services are available for people who are seeking help or just someone to talk to. Aside from the NCMH crisis hotline, the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation has confidential crisis lines and a referral system to partnered psychologists. The foundation is also a hub for prevention, recognition, and treatment of depression. The Philippine Mental Health Association also offers similar services, and universities like UST, UP Diliman, and Ateneo de Manila have their own mental health service organizations. Some, like Ateneo’s Center for Family Ministries have affordable or negotiable fees. Online resources like the Silakbo.Ph website have listings for many other mental health service providers outside of the NCR. In fact, many organizations have already partnered with the Department of Health (DOH); perhaps more of them should be invited to the table to plan new policies, projects, and initiatives that will address the growing number of mental health cases. The DOH is also encouraging people to learn more about general mental health through free e-learning courses translated into Filipino.  The source material is from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) QualityRights initiative, which is a global project that aims to help participants improve their own mental health, learn how to support their loved ones and communities, and gain knowledge and skills to tackle mental health issues. Clearly, we need to reassess and adapt to the fact that more Filipinos are now looking for mental health services and treatments. This is why I am seeking to amend Republic Act 11036, the Mental Health Act, particularly its existing chapter on “Rights of Service Users and Other Stakeholders.” Our proposed amendment seek to give health service users the right to immediately receive compensation benefits and special financial assistance they are entitled to under law, should they sustain temporary or permanent mental disability in the line of duty or by reason of a person’s office or position. This is an important amendment, as the Mental Health Act requires that PhilHealth provide insurance packages to patients with mental health conditions, and that access to medicines is ensured. With the observation of World Mental Health Day last October 10, it is important to remember the DOH’s theme for this year, “Mental Health for All: Unifying Voices for Greater Investment and Access.”  This theme encourages that we open conversations on the various challenges that our mental health care system faces every day, such as social stigma and limited funding. In fact, the simple act of marking the day itself is important. It shows those who are suffering that we see them, and care for them. It tells others who are hiding their issues that it is perfectly normal to seek help. And most of all, it encourages the whole world to stand in solidarity in recognition of the need for all of society to help those with mental health issues. E-mail:| Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 16 years—9 years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and 7 as Senator. He has authored and sponsored more than 200 laws.  He is currently serving his second term in the Senate. .....»»

Category: newsSource: NewsOct 18th, 2020

FSRF distribution for Aklan farmers nears completion

KALIBO, Aklan, June 7 (PIA) -- The distribution of the Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF) in the province of Aklan is nearing completion, based on the latest data provided by the Office of t.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJun 7th, 2020

475 Cagayano farmers receive financial subsidy from DA

SOLANA, Cagayan, June 5 (PIA) - - -A total of 475 rice farmers from various barangays of Solana, Cagayan today received Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF) from the Department of Agriculture.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

LANDBANK, DA Distribute P993M in Cash Aid to Small Rice Farmers

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA), continued to distribute cash assistance to small rice farmers during the CoVid-19 pandemic, paying out a total of P993.15 Million to 198,630 farmer-beneficiaries. The one-time financial assistance of P5,000 each is granted to rice farmers tilling farms with areas of […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsMay 17th, 2020

DA releases financial assistance to Kalinga rice farmers

CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga, May 12 (PIA) - The Department of Agriculture (DA) in partnership with local government units and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) distribute P5, 000 cash subsidy to rice f.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsMay 12th, 2020

Farmers get P308 million cash from Landbank

Government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines has paid out over P308 million to farmer-beneficiaries listed under the Department of Agriculture’s financial subsidy to rice farmers......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

DA gives fund aid, machineries to Isabela rice farmers

DA -2 Director Narciso Edillo poses with Isabela rice farmer beneficiaries afterthe distribution of financial assistance, farm machineries and equipment at Cityof Ilagan Community Cen.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2020

DA gives fund aid, machineries to Isabela rice farmers

DA -2 Director Narciso Edillo poses with Isabela rice farmer beneficiaries afterthe distribution of financial assistance, farm machineries and equipment at Cityof Ilagan Community Cen.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2020

Sec. Dar brings aid to Ormin farmers

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro, Jan. 24 (PIA) - Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar launched the Rice Farmers' Financial Assistance (RFFA) program in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro bringing much neede.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJan 24th, 2020

Sec. Dar brings aid to Ormin farmers

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro, Jan. 24 (PIA) - Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar launched the Rice Farmers' Financial Assistance (RFFA) program in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro bringing much neede.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJan 24th, 2020

DA-7: Rice farmers in Central Visayas may not qualify for P5K cash aid

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Rice farmers in Central Visayas may not be qualified to receive the P5,000 financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA). The cash assistance was intended for small rice farmers, who were mostly affected by the initial impact of the Rice Tariffication Law. Dr. Gerry Avila, supervising chief engineer for the […] The post DA-7: Rice farmers in Central Visayas may not qualify for P5K cash aid appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 18th, 2019

Duterte apologizes to rice farmers over low prices

President Duterte has apologized to farmers for the government’s shortcomings to the agriculture sector, but he is not inclined to seek the repeal of the rice tariffication law, which is said to be hurting the livelihood of farm workers......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 17th, 2019

‘Rice tariffication a WTO commitment’

The Philippines would have faced bigger troubles had it failed to pass a law opening the rice market to imports as part its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO). This was reiterated by Senator Cynthia Villar amid complaints the recently enacted Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) has unduly disadvantaged rice farmers. At the Senate inquiry […] The post ‘Rice tariffication a WTO commitment’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 6th, 2019

Farmers seek crackdown on rice ‘profiteering’

A FARMER organization called on the trade department to crack down on traders and retailers who are “profiteering” with still-high retail prices while also forcing farmers to accept low prices for their harvests......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2019

LP lawmakers seek P13.19-billion cash aid for rice farmers

MANILA, Philippines – Sixteen legislators from the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP) filed a joint resolution that would amend the rice tariffication law and allow the government to use P13.19 billion as direct cash assistance to rice farmers.  The LP legislators filed Joint Resolution (JR) No. 15 on Wednesday, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 11th, 2019

Farmers seek floor price as palay sells for just P7 per kilo

MANILA, Philippines – Farmers appealed to Congress to set a floor price for palay or unhusked rice, as its farmgate prices have plummeted to much lower than production costs. In a briefing on the impact of the rice tariffication law at the House of Representatives ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 2nd, 2019

AMLC to seek more powers

NADI, FijiThe Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) will seek additional powers to combat financial crimes as part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas bigger responsibility in ensuring financial stabili.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 7th, 2019

Labor & Management: Samsung turns farmers into bigger earners than bankers

A FEW YEARS AGO, Nguyen Thi Dung was feeding chickens and planting rice to make ends meet in one of the poorest areas in Vietnam. This year, she expects to earn more than a typical stockbroker in the country. The difference? Samsung......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsOct 6th, 2016

El Niño-hit farmers seek rice subsidy

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – At least 5,000 farmers affected by El Niño camped out in front of the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 26th, 2016