Press Release
October 6, 2016

Villar welcomes P21-billion program for farmers in CCT program

Sen. Cynthia Villar welcomed the creation of a program that will allow Filipino farmers to produce the rice requirement for the 4.5 million household-beneficiaries of government's conditional cash transfer program.

During the Finance Subcommittee E hearing presided by Villar on the P50.5-billion proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for 2017, DA Sec. Emmanuel Piñol informed senators that they have devised a program that will help farmers increase their productivity and profitability by allowing them to produce the rice requirement under the P21-billion rice subsidy of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

"With this scheme, we will be able to feed the CCT beneficiaries and at the same time provide the farmers with the market for their rice produce. This makes the 4Ps program more meaningful," Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said.

Under the program called LGU Corporate Farming, a partnership between farmers cooperatives, local government units and rice farmers will be formed to ensure supply of freshly-milled and affordable rice in the community.

Towns and provinces and farmer organizations will finance the farm inputs and service requirements of the rice farmers to produce rice for the LGU beneficiaries. DA will provide technical support services, farm equipment and machineries.

Piñol said during last Monday's Cabinet meeting, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved this program and DA is now working out a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for this purpose.

For next year, aside from the education and health cash grants, 4Ps household-beneficiaries will also be provided with P20 kilos of rice every month. "This is based on the experience of Yazaki Torres. It is a corporation with 14,000 employees. They have a canteen which consumes 400 bags of 50-kilo bags of rice every week. They also have employees na binibigyan ng rice allowance. Instead of buying their rice requirements from commercial sources, they went to Mindoro, engaged 400 farmers, finance the farmers through a local bank, Banco Makiling, provided the tractors, provided good seeds, provided fertilizers, and then binili nila iyong bigas ng mga magsasaka," Piñol explained.

Initially, the project will be implemented in four areas - Quezon City, Quirino Province, Kidapawan City, and Sorsogon.

Earlier, Villar has called on the DSWD to review the 4Ps program after it failed to bring down poverty figure in the country, which remains at 27 percent after spending billions of pesos and six years of 4Ps implementation. She has been advocating for a CCT program tied up with agriculture like what is being done in Brazil and Thailand.

"The Brazil CCT program, which is the biggest in the world with 8.8 million beneficiaries, farmers are required to grow crops. The government buys their produce and feeds the school children. In Thailand, they require 6 million school children to drink 200 ml of milk everyday, which brought up their dairy industry," Villar said.

The vice chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food said the 4Ps program should be tied up with agricultural programs, given that 40 percent of 11.8 million farmers and fisherfolk are living below the poverty line. Sixty percent of the 3.5 million coconut farmers are earning P50 a day or P1,500 a month.

"If you want to reduce poverty, you should tie the CCT program with agriculture because if you can reduce the number of the poor people in agriculture, then you reduce poverty in the Philippines," she said.

News Latest News Feed