Over 10,000 rice farmers from the province of Capiz will be receiving financial aid through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program this year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced on Friday. 

“Ngayong 2023, mahigit sampung libong benepisyaryo mula sa inyong lalawigan ang nakatakdang makatanggap ng tulong pinansiyal sa ilalim ng Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Program o ‘yung RFFA,” the President during his visit in Roxas City, Capiz to personally turn over various government interventions.

President Marcos also mentioned the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RECF) aimed at increasing the productivity and competitiveness of local farmers by providing machineries, farm inputs, and training. 

“Dagdag po rito, marami rin pong mga maliliit na mga magsasaka na matutulungan ng Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund, or ‘yung tinatawag na RCEF, sa pamamagitan ng mga makinarya, mga punla, mga pagsasanay at seminar, at pagpapahiram ng puhunan para sa kanila,” he added.

On September 29, President Marcos has ordered the release of the PhP12.7 billion fund for the RFFA program to help small-scale rice farmers sustain their productivity. 

The over 10,000 rice farmers in Capiz form part of the identified 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 sourced from the excess tariff collection from rice importations in 2022, amounting to around PhP12.7 billion.

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.

The chief executive further reminded the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Finance to fast-track the release and delivery of the said monetary assistance. 

“Inaatasan ko ang DA at ang Department of Finance na pabilisin ang pagmamahagi ng mga benepisyong ito,” he said. 

President Marcos also led the distribution of 25-kilo bags of rice to 1,000 4Ps beneficiaries in Capiz, who were affected by the red tide in Roxas City. 

These formed part of the 42,180 25-kilo bags of Alas Jasmine Fragrant Rice seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Zamboanga.

Of this number, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has distributed 17,665 25-kilo bags of rice, as of October 4, to various areas across the country, including in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Brgy. San Roque, Zamboanga City on September 19; Brgy. Santiago, General Trias, Cavite on Sept. 22; Iriga City, Camarines Sur on Sept. 23; and San Andres Sports Complex, San Andres Manila on Sept. 26. 

President Marcos also led the distribution of sacks of rice at the Dapa Municipal Gymnasium, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte and Provincial Capitol, San Jose, Dinagat Islands on Sept. 29; and Taguig City University Gymnasium, Gen. Santos Avenue, Lower Bicutan, Taguig on Oct. 4. 

There are over 26,000 remaining bags of rice still to be distributed.

Various assistance were also distributed by DA, DSWD, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), TESDA, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). | PND

Photo Courtesy by PCO