House approves bill providing cash assistance to farmers on final reading

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MANILA – The House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a proposal on final reading permitting the Department of Agriculture (DA) to use excess rice tariff income under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) for direct cash assistance to farmers.

House Bill 9950, or the proposed Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act, was passed on third reading by a vote of 195-0-0.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, author of the bill, stressed the importance of intervening for farmers amid the current condition of decreasing palay (unhusked rice) prices and the devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill authorizes the DA to use annual tariff income in excess of PHP10 billion sent directly by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for direct monetary assistance to farmers producing two hectares of rice lands until 2024.

“This provision to our farmers shall provide them with immediate aid and assistance, most especially during these difficult times,” Yap said.

The bill mandates the BOC to remit the aforementioned excess money to the DA.

All rice import tariffs collected under the RTL are directed to the annual PHP10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

The BOC and the DA must provide separate reports to Congress by the end of the fiscal year, via the House Committee on Agriculture, on the remittance of money and the actual payout for the year.

According to the recent data, the BOC has collected PHP14.6 billion. 

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.