Hundreds of Pampanga farmers receive loans from Land Bank
Location: Pampanga, Philippines
Date Published: November 20, 2019
Over 600 farmers in the province of Pampanga benefitted from the PhP10.29 -million cash loan given through the Land Bank of the Philippines.
Farmer-beneficiaries from the towns of Apalit, Arayat, Macabebe, Mexico, Minalin, San Simon, Sta. Ana, and Sto. Tomas makes up the second batch who receive PhP15,000 each.
The loan, which is given to farmers who have been affected by the sudden drop of rice price this year, is under the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program of the Department of Agriculture. Land Bank Pampanga Lending Center Head Rolando Santos said they are tasked to provide cash loans to affected farmers until the year ends.
"Under this cash loan, the farmer-beneficiaries must pay PhP1,000 in a semi-annual amortization period, with zero percent interest, from 2020 to 2027," Santos said.
Prior to this, the farmers were able to apply for registration under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture. Santos added that the farmers signed application and loan documents and have them verified and notarized before the cash cards were handed to them.
To date, farmers from 11 towns and 2 cities already benefitted from the said program.
Land Bank is set to release cash loans to another batch of farmers from other towns in Pampanga on December 20.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the House of Representatives on Tuesday said it will study the proposals repealing the rice tariffication law (RTL).
This after Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez along with other House leaders received the 50,000 signatures gathered by Bantay Bigas calling for the repeal of the law, which took effect just last March.
Cayetano said that they are open to the proposal and would study all options to help farmers affected by the RTL, who have groaned under deep cuts to their income with the surge in imports as a result of liberalization.
Romualdez, chairman of the House Committee on Rules, also vowed to hear the proposal of other lawmakers to address the impact of RTL, saying “everyone deserves to be heard.”
On February 2019, Republic Act (RA) 11203 entitled, “An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation, and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice, and For Other Purposes” was enacted to help support the local rice industry specifically by creating a “Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.”
For his part, House Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairman Wilfrido Mark Enverga said the suspension of rice importation will help farmers against losses due to the RTL.
“Definitely a call for suspension of rice importation and/or raising the safeguard measures will ease the impacts of the rice liberalization law,” he added.
According to Enverga, his committee will deliberate all the proposals amending, as well as repealing the RTL next month.
“There are bills repealing and amending the RTL. These measures will be scheduled this December for deliberations,” Enverga said.
“It is a point of consideration for President Duterte. We will welcome any measure that will cushion the immediate impacts of the law to our rice farmers,” he added. Currently, there are five pending bills and resolutions repealing and amending Republic Act 11203 or the RTL.
Last week, Bantay Bigas and the National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) submitted a petition to the House urging the leadership of the chamber to repeal the RTL. The groups said their petition was signed by 50,000 farmers in top rice-producing provinces, including Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Iloilo, Camarines Sur, Tarlac, and Leyte.
“We strongly hope that the House of Representatives heeds the noble demands of the Filipino people for the attainment of national food security based on self-sufficiency and self-reliance, free from import dependence and grounded on strengthened tenurial rights of rice farmers in the country,” the petition said.