Driven to boost rice production and supply in the Philippines, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the Department of Agriculture (DA) to utilize the excess collections of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to assist rice farmers. 

In a recent meeting with DA officials, President Marcos said the RCEF excess collection beyond the P10 billion requirement should be used to provide drying, mechanization, and other equipment support to rice farmers to sustain their productivity. 

Under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), revenues collected from rice tariffs should pay for the yearly requirement of P10 billion for the RCEF to bankroll programs and projects raising the competitiveness and output of palay farmers.

In the same meeting, the President also ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government to enjoin all local government units to rationalize the pass through fees and other transport costs imposed on motor vehicles transporting goods like rice and other products while passing through local public roads to facilitate the faster and more economical transport of rice.

President Marcos  has earlier issued Executive Order (EO) No. 41 on September 25, prohibiting LGUs from collecting toll fees and charges to all vehicles transporting goods or merchandise while passing through national roads and other thoroughfares not constructed or funded by them to significantly lessen transportation and logistics costs as he emphasized that reducing transport and logistics costs is one of the pillars of the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda.

President Marcos recently approved the release of PhP12.7 billion, which will be distributed to 2.3 million small rice farmers who will each receive PhP5,000 in financial assistance under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program of the government. 

The President also emphasized that the financial assistance is also part of the government’s efforts to support small rice farmers who will be affected by the lifting of Executive Order No. 39, which sets the mandated price ceiling on regular and well-milled rice. 

“Ang pagtanggal ng price cap na ‘yan ay hindi basta-basta natin ginawa ‘yan lang ang ating ginawa. Mayroon ring kasama na pagtulong ulit, pagpapatibay at pagpaganda ng ating agricultural sector,” President Marcos said. 
“Lalakihan natin ang galing sa Rice Tariffication Law at ibibigay natin sa ating mga farmer sa pamamagitan ng mga equipment, mga tractor, mga harvest, mga dryer,” the chief executive said. | PND

Photo Courtesy by PCO