Press Release
November 4, 2019

Villar welcomes Senate approval of joint resolution authorizing government agencies to purchase 4Ps rice needs from local farmers

Sen. Cynthia Villar today welcomed the approval on third reading of the joint resolution directing government agencies to purchase the rice needs of the 4.1 million beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) from local farmers.

In a unanimous vote of 21, senators voted to adopt Joint Resolution No. 8, which authorizes the use of the rice subsidy as provided under the 4Ps in the General Appropriations Act of 2019 for the purchase of palay from farmers.

For this purpose, it mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in coordination with the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy palay from the local farmers from the provinces which has an oversupply of rice such as Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga del Sur and Iloilo and distribute rice subsidy in the form of actual rice, instead of cash assistance to the qualified beneficiaries.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the measure was crafted to help local farmers to have a ready market for their produce specially in this harvest season.

"In this way, the government's rice subsidy program will become part of a viable strategy of ensuring a captive market for the palay produced by our local farmers," Villar said.

The 2019 GAA provides a total allocation of P33.9 billion for rice subsidies. The largest of which is given to 4Ps beneficiaries that can be used in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and NFA to buy palay directly from local farmers.

Under the program, beneficiaries are given P600 per month or equivalent to 20 kilos of rice. The DSWD confimed that for this year, at least P6.97 billion remained unspent under the rice subsidy program.

The resolution also encourages local government units who have the constant need for rice to supply the requirement of their hospitals, jail, and other local institutions, feeding programs and calamity-program interventions from the local farmers.

The Nacionalista Party senator also noted that the purchase of palay at a fair price by government agencies and local government units will enable rice farmers to realize decent profit and continue with their capacity to farm and produce palay.

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