Farmers' group asks gov't for P414.5-B aid for agriculture workers | Inquirer News
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Farmers’ group asks gov’t for P414.5-B aid for agriculture workers

/ 04:24 PM May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A farmers’ group on Friday requested government to provide a P414.5-billion aid for agricultural workers reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

During a joint Senate committee on finance and economic affairs, Danilo Ramos, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said that P15,000 production subsidy should be allocated to each of the 9.7 million local farmers, agricultural workers, and fisherfolk in the country, which will amount to P145.5 billion.

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Aside from this, he also asked government to provide P10,000 monthly aid for each worker in the agriculture sector, which will amount to P194 billion for two months.

A P25,000-loan should likewise be allocated to the more marginalized 3 million rice farmers, fishermen, and agricultural workers, which will total to P75 million.

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“Lahat-lahat po ay P414.5 billion, na tingin po namin makikinabang po ang mayorya. Halos makikinabang po ang halos 70 to 75 percent na nakatira po sa kanayunan (All in all, the amount will be P414.5 billion which we believe will benefit the majority. Almost 70 to 75 percent of people living in the countryside will benefit from this),” Ramos said.

In explaining the group’s request, the KMP chairperson said that only a meager amount of assistance from the Department of Agriculture goes to direct subsidies for fisherfolk and farmers.

“Ang malaki po ay para sa marketing, para sa urban gardening. Eh hindi naman po lingid sa inyo na napakahalaga na paunlarin ‘yung production natin kasi kung walang production, ano ‘yung ibebenta sa marketing?” he pointed out.

(A large amount of the assistance goes to marketing and urban gardening. But you know that it is really important to increase agricultural production because if we do not have production then what will we sell?)

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said his economic team has started crafting a “recovery package” for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help them deal with the economic effects of the pandemic.

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