Gov’t urged to implement ‘Sagip Saka Act’ to help farmers as palay prices dip | Inquirer News

Gov’t urged to implement ‘Sagip Saka Act’ to help farmers as palay prices dip

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 04:51 PM September 03, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday called on the government to be an equalizer and strictly implement Republic Act (RA) 1132 or the Sagip Saka Act amid the plummeting prices of palay (unhusked rice). 

“Lahat ng accredited farmers organizations o kaya fisher-folk organizations ay pupuwedeng maging bahagi ng ganitong negotiated purchases sa mga pamahalaang lokal at pamahalaang pambansa,” Pangilinan, the principal author of Sagip Saka Act, said in a statement. 

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“So for example ang gumagawa ngayon niyan, NFA (National Food Authority), bumibili direkta sa mga magsasaka. So ngayon hindi na lang NFA ang pwedeng bumili ng produktong bigas,” he added. 

During the Senate hearing on how to help farmers absorb the impacts of the Rice Tariffication Law held Tuesday, farmers and farmers’ rights groups said that buying prices for palay plunged as low as P7 to P8 per kilo, which is much lower than the production cost of palay at P12 per kilo.

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Pangilinan added that Sagip Saka Act exempts local governments and national agencies from the Procurement Law, adding that the government can now directly buy from farmers’ and fishers’ organizations for their feeding program, their employees’ rice allowance, their food-for-work programs, among others. 

“Halimbawa, may rice allowance yung ibang mga local governments, usually niyan cash, e ‘di bigyan mo ng 80 percent cash, 20 percent bigas mismo,” he said. 

“Pero ‘yung bente porsyentong na bigas na ‘yun bibilhin mo ngayon sa mga magsasaka. So yan yung magiging dagdag na supporta para sa ating magsasaka na alam nila pag nagtatanim sila hindi sila babaratin dahil nandiyan ang pamahalaang lokal, pamahalaang pambansa, mga ahensya ng gobyerno na bibili sa negotiated price na hindi palugi,” he added. 

The Sagip Saka Act seeks to institutionalize an enterprise program for fishermen and farmers. 

President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11321 last April 17, and was later made public on May 27. 

READ: Enterprise development program bill for farmers, fishermen now a law

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TAGS: Farmers, Kiko Panglinan, National Food Authority, Palay, Rice Tariffication Law, Sagip Saka Law
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