Senate panel OKs bill converting gov’t cash subsidy to rice
MANILA, Philippines — A bill that would allow the government to give rice, instead of cash subsidy to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, has been approved by a joint panel of the Senate.
Providing rice subsidy to 4Ps beneficiaries, in lieu of cash, was contained in Senate Joint Resolution No. 8, which was approved by the Senate committees on agriculture and agrarian reform.
A report prepared and approved by the two committees was signed by 14 senators.
The joint resolution directs concerned agencies to directly purchase palay from the local farmers for the rice subsidy program.
For this year alone, the measure noted that a total of P 33.9 billion was allotted for rice subsidies in various government agencies, the chunk was given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for its 4Ps.
“The program grants the beneficiaries rice subsidy in the form of financial assistance in the amount of P600.00 per month, equivalent to 20 kilos of rice,” the resolution said.
“This is in addition to the cash assistance to the same beneficiaries of P300.00 per month or P3,600.00 per year under the 4Ps program,” it added.
The measure also mentioned about the remaining allocations of P 2.89 billion for rice subsidy programs for military uniformed personnel such as the provision of 20 kilos of rice per month, in the form of financial assistance, to the uniformed personnel of the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).
Under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 11203, the NFA (National Food Authority) is tasked to buy palay from local farmers “all-year-round for the maintenance of a rice buffer stock and can be assigned to undertake direct local buying on behalf of the departments,” it said.
The resolution also noted the local government units’ “perennial” need for rice to supply the requirement of their hospitals, jail, and other local institutions, feeding programs and calamity-program interventions.
“And they also have the funds to do such purchasing of rice,” it pointed out. /kga
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