News Release

PBBM approves PhP12.7-billion financial assistance for rice farmers

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved and ordered on Thursday the release of PhP12.7 billion for the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program of the administration in a bid to help small rice farmers sustain their productivity amid some agricultural challenges in the country.

“[This would] help them cope with the increasing cost of production and sustain their productivity even in the face of challenges like the coming El Niño [phenomenon],” President Marcos said, referring to the government’s RFFA.

Under the RFFA, the government has identified about 2.3 million small rice farmer beneficiaries who are registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) as of June 30, 2023.

Each beneficiary will receive PhP5,000 in financial assistance, which was sourced through the excess tariff collection from rice importations in 2022, amounting to around PhP12.7 billion.

The RFFA beneficiaries include those in the farm cooperatives associations (FCAs), irrigators associations (IAs), agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs), small water impounding systems associations (SWISAs), and other farm groups.

The RFFA is an unconditional financial assistance for farmers tilling below two hectares of land as mandated under Republic Act (RA) No. 11598, or the Cash Assistance to Filipino Farmers Act of 2021.

President Marcos also approved the utilization of PhP700 million in excess tariff collections for the “Palayamanan Plus” conditional cash transfer under the Household Crop Diversification Program.

It aims to ensure RSBSA-registered farmers, who are also listed in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), “will enjoy food, nutrition, and income security.”

Around 78,000 beneficiaries are expected to receive the Palayamanan Plus conditional cash transfer of PhP10,000 each.

The two proposed financial assistance packages support the Masagana Rice Industry Development Programs (MRIDP).

In his previous rice distribution, President Marcos assured the Filipino people that his administration will not stop looking for sustainable solutions to address the agricultural issues in the country gearing toward a “New Philippines.”

The President also emphasized that providing financial assistance to affected farmers is just one of the steps of the administration to sustain their source of income.

“Bilang inyong Pangulo at Kalihim ng Agrikultura, patuloy po tayong gumagawa ng mga konkretong solusyon upang matugunan ang mga problemang kinakaharap ng sektor ng agrikultura,” President Marcos had said.

“Kaya naman, ang hamon ko sa inyo, mga kapwa Pilipino: Magtulungan po tayo upang maisaayos ang ating agrikultura at maisakatuparan ang pangarap natin ng ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ – kung saan matatag, maginhawa at panatag ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” he added.

Aside from providing financial assistance to rice farmers, President Marcos has also led the distribution of thousands of sacks of rice to 4Ps beneficiaries in Tungawan, Zamboanga City; Brgy. San Roque, Zamboanga City; Brgy. Santiago, General Trias, Cavite; Iriga City, Camarines Sur; and San Andres Manila.

President Marcos also extended PhP15,000-financial assistance to small rice retailers and sari-sari store owners affected by the implementation of Executive Order No. 39, which imposed the mandated PhP41.00 price cap on regular milled rice and PhP45.00 price ceiling on well-milled rice. *PND*