A proposal was presented to Congress on Monday to provide a single subsidy of P15,000 for farmers and fisherfolk in order to alleviate the burden of increasing farm expenses and natural calamities.
The person responsible for the bill, Representative Paolo Z. Duterte from Davao City, stated that his “Production Subsidy Program” aims to assist those who are part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Unconditional Cash Transfer Program, and other farmers and fisherfolk who have experienced a decrease in income due to the increasing expenses of farm materials, higher fuel costs, and the impact of natural disasters.
The suggested financial aid aims to support 9.7 million individuals in the farming and fishing industries and will require a budget of P145.5 billion to be given by the Department of Agriculture.
Sources of funds for the subsidy include the national budget, savings from the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, as well as additional and newly acquired revenue.
Other potential funding sources could include untapped or unspent funds in special-purpose accounts, cash reserves, investments from government-owned and -controlled entities or agencies, and leftover budget allocations for debt repayment.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in 2021, fisherfolk had the highest poverty rate of 30.6%, an increase from 26.2% in 2018. Meanwhile, farmers had a poverty rate of 30% in 2021, slightly lower than the previous rate of 31.6% in 2018.
The PSA is expected to finish their latest census of farmers and fisherfolk by Oct. 25. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz