DOF open to proposed cash subsidy for farmers
The head of the Duterte administration’s economic team is open to a proposal to give away cash to farmers who are suffering from lower palay prices as a result of the rice tariffication law.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters that he was also amenable to Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri’s suggestion to provide rice instead of money to recipients of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) amid a supposed domestic oversupply of the Filipino staple food.
However, Dominguez said it might be difficult for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to hand out rice instead of money to 4Ps beneficiaries.
“Sure, they can do it. But it’s going to be a logistics problem,” Dominguez said.
As for the proposed cash transfers to palay farmers, Dominguez said the required funding would come from the rice import tariff collection in excess of the P10 billion in yearly allotment for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
From March to September, the government has already collected P10.7 billion in import duties, Dominguez said.
While Sen. Francis Pangilinan wanted a P13-billion cash assistance to farmers, Dominguez said the Department of Finance (DOF) had yet to determine how much money the government could directly give to those affected by the influx of rice imports.
“It depends on how much we collect extra. Because our interpretation of the law is that it’s P10 billion, that’s one pot. Anything over that, we can reinvest in the assistance program,” which included cash transfers, Dominguez said.
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