Filipino Farmers

Pangasinan, Isabela farmers declare all-out support for Sen. Bam

Farmers from Isabela and Pangasinan have declared their full support behind the candidacy of re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino, who pushed for the immediate release of financial assistance to farmers affected by rice tariffication law.

In Cauayan City, hundreds of farmers have endorsed the re-election bid of Sen. Bam during a program, where he was joined by Isabela Gov. Bojie Dy and other local officials.

More than 2,000 farmers belonging to the Pangasinan-based Abono Party List, led by its chairman Rosendo So, gathered in Urdaneta City to show their support for Sen. Bam.

“Huwag nating kalimutan, kailangan natin siya sa Senado,” said So as he thanked Sen. Bam for helping push for the passage of Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.

As he thanked farmers for their support, Sen. Bam promised to work for the immediate release of the financial assistance given to agricultural workers under the rice tariffication law and to focus on their other concerns.

“Itong pinagdadaanang matinding hirap ng mga kababayan nating magbubukid dahil sa pagbagsak ng presyo ng palay ay hindi lang problema ng sektor agrikultura, ito ay isang pambansang usapin,” said Sen. Bam.

“Kaya dapat ibigay na ngayon ang ayuda sa mga magsasaka dahil ngayon ito pinaka-kailangan,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam called on the government to immediately distribute the direct financial assistance to farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to help them cope with the effects of the influx of imported rice in the market on their livelihood.

“Hindi na dapat paghintayin pa ang mga magsasaka. Kailangan na nila ang tulong ngayon,” Sen. Bam pointed out.

Earlier, Sen. Bam maintained that the government should focus on ensuring the livelihood of Filipino farmers and their families amid the entry of imported rice in the market.

“Dapat matiyak na walang magutom, mabigyan ng subsidiya, at masigurado ang kapakanan ng kanilang pamilya,” Sen. Bam said.

Aside from direct financial assistance, RCEF will also be used to support mechanization, credit assistance, seed development and for extension services for farmers to help them become more productive and competitive against imported rice.

“Mahalagang tulungan natin sila na maging produktibo para hindi maapektuhan ang kanilang kabuhayan,” Sen. Bam said.

Sen. Bam: Ensure fast implementation of subsidy for farmers affected by rice tariffication law

Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to ensure the immediate implementation of subsidy to rice farmer as he expressed concern about the effects of the rice tariffication law on the livelihood of tillers and their families.

“Mahalaga na ang ating mga magsasaka, mayroong safety net para sa kanila dahil maraming lugar ang mahihirapan sa pagpasok ng imported na bigas,” Sen. Bam said during a meeting with farmers in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan yesterday.

“Ang challenge natin, ngayong na papasok na iyan in the next few months, kailangan ang programa para sa ating rice farmers ay naka-ready na,” the senator added.

The law includes a subsidy for farmers in the form of a Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to support mechanization, credit assistance, seed development and for extension services for farmers.

Sen. Bam believes the Department of Agriculture (DA) should immediately deliver the subsidy under the law so that the livelihood of rice farmers will not be affected by the expected deluge of imported rice in the market.

“In the short term, baka kailangan talaga ng subsidiya para hindi sila magutom at hindi mawalan ng hanapbuhay,” said Sen. Bam.

In the long term, Sen. Bam said the government should help rice farmers transition to other alternative crops that will help them compete in the market.

While the law paves way for steady supply of affordable rice in the market, Sen. Bam said the government should balance the situation by also ensuring the livelihood of Filipino farmers and strengthening the country’s food security.

“Importante na mababa ang presyo ng bigas sa merkado ngunit mahalaga rin na may sapat na produksiyon ng bigas sa ating bansa upang food secure tayo,” Sen. Bam explained.

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Bilhin ang ‘Storm Damaged Palay’

Sen. Bam Aquino urged President Duterte to order the National Food Authority (NFA) to purchase Storm-Damaged Palay (SDP) from farmers in areas devastated by Typhoon Ompong as a way to help them and the families get back on their feet.

“Sana po tugunan ng Pangulo ang hinaing ng mga magsasaka at kanilang mga pamilya,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the farmers who have failed to harvest their crops before the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.

“Utusan sana niya ang NFA na bilhin ang SDP. Tulungan natin ang mga kababayan nating magsasaka,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said the move will give farmers a chance to recoup their capital used for purchasing rice seeds, fertilizer and other inputs.

The senator said buying SDP is not new to the NFA since the agency has done it in the past. However, the price is dependent on the quality specification, such as moisture content, purity, discolored and damaged grains.

Sen. Bam said the government can use the President’s Social Fund or the Calamity Fund, which are both under the Office of the President, to fund the initiative.

“Unahin sana ng administrasyon ang mga nasasagasaan at napipinsala. Masyado nang maraming Pilipino ang nalulunod sa mataas na presyo ng bilihin,” Sen. Bam stressed.

Earlier, Sen. Bam also urged the government to work together to mitigate the effects of Typhoon Ompong on the prices of goods in affected areas.

As one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, Sen. Bam has been working to lessen the effects of the government’s tax reform program in the prices of goods and services.

The senator filed Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill to suspend the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.

Sen. Bam stressed the need to enact his measure into law, saying it will stop the second round of increase in excise tax on petroleum products under the TRAIN Law in January 2019.

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