Instead of distributing a PHP600 rice subsidy per month, families under the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will be given actual rice under a new proposal.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar bared that his agency is working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to convert the latter’s PHP600 subsidy into rice to help farmers amid lower prices of palay.
“Last week, we have been in touch-base with the Secretary of DSWD (Rolando Bautista). Sabi namin, ang (We said, the) proposal, why not give rice this time around and they are open,” Dar said in an economic briefing in Malacañang.
Dar said the two agencies are already holding “final discussions” on the proposal and are set to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) by October.
“The final discussions are being made, so that this quarter starting of course September and the next quarter ay puwede na silang magbigay ng bigas (they can already start giving rice),” Dar said.
“Bibilhin nila iyong bigas galing sa mga provincial governments na magnenegosyo at saka galing sa (They will buy the rice from provincial governments engaged in business and the) National Food Authority.
Dar said his agency is also coordinating with the legislative branch to include it as a provision in the law.
“Kasi kung naisabatas iyan at konti ang (because if it is enacted into a law and has little) flexibility, we will suggest na mas maganda kung bigas; iyon ang position natin (it’s better if it’s rice. That’s our position),” Dar said.
“At irirekumenda natin na (And we will recommend that) this is a permanent policy,” he added.
Dar said he has directed administrators to ensure that warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA) will be leased to provincial governments instead of the private sector.
“I directed the administrator na the leases with private sector has to end and we’ll give priority to provincial governments that that will engage in palay buying — in milling or in marketing of rice,” Dar said.
On April 17, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law institutionalizing the 4PDs of the DSWD.
The 4Ps is the national poverty reduction strategy and human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition, and educational aspect of their lives. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)