- The Senate has approved the measure on Monday authorizing the DSWD and the NFA to utilize 4Ps funds to buy palay from our local farmers
- The House of Representatives is also working on a resolution that will convert 4Ps cash assistance to actual rice
- Filipino farmers who were hit hard by the rice tariffication law are expected to benefit once the bill becomes a law
4Ps beneficiaries may soon receive rice instead of cash assistance with the government’s efforts to improve the program
On Monday, November 4, the Senate has approved the measure that will authorize 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) rice subsidy funds to be used to buy palay from our local farmers.
On its 3rd and final reading, the voting results of 21-0-0 strongly favored the Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) No. 8, which enables the Department of Social Welfare and Development, together with the National Food Authority, to purchase palay in the following provinces that have “excess rice production.” This includes Pangasinan, Ilocos, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Zamboanga del Sur, and Iloilo.
The House of Representatives is also working on a counterpart resolution, which, once approved by the president, will make 4Ps beneficiaries receive actual rice instead of rice subsidy (cash).
At present, each of the 4.1 million 4Ps beneficiaries receives a monthly rice subsidy of P600 plus cash assistance of P300 (maximum of 10 months).
The resolution will also secure the government’s aid for the marginalized sector from abu
se since others reportedly use the money for gambling and not for their basic needs.
Our Filipino farmers will significantly benefit from this development once this becomes a law. In February this year, the rice tariffication law was signed and is expected to provide affordable rice for consumers and increase rice farmer income. This replaced quantitative restrictions on rice imports with tariffs. But in 2017, the government failed to renew the waiver lifting the limit when it expired. This resulted in traders importing cheaper crops, thus competing with our farmers.
The farm gate price of palay became very low; even below production cost. Hopefully, with the National Food Authority sourcing the rice solely from them, they could recover.