DA chief allays 'unfounded fears' of farmers over PCIC transfer to DOF

Published September 18, 2021, 1:31 PM

by Betheena Unite

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar has allayed the fears of farmers over the transfer of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to the Department of Finance (DOF).

(Photo courtesy of the DA)

“We assure the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) that their interest and those of other farmers’ groups will continue and remains the priority of the PCIC Board,” Dar said in a statement Saturday, Sept. 18.

“The fear of FFF is unfounded as the PCIC, with its transfer to the Department of Finance, as per Executive Order No. 148, will make the operations of the agency more efficient in fulfilling its mandate toward providing insurance protection to subsistence farmers and fisherfolk,” added Dar, who will serve as vice-chair of the reconstituted seven-man PCIC Board.

The current administration has decided to transfer the PCIC to the Finance department in a bid to “effectively perform its mandate of providing insurance protection to farmers in the most cost-efficient manner.”

This move was criticized by the farmers group saying that “the priority will shift to fiscal and monetary concerns which may not necessarily be supportive of the needs of farmers and the DA.”

Dar, however, stressed that the coordination with the DOF “will be stronger than ever and enable our farmers and fisherfolk, through their representatives in the Board, to directly plead the case for greater support for agricultural insurance” with Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez as PCIC chair.

He added that the FFF and the entire agriculture, fishery, and livestock sector are assured of continued and strong support from the newly-reconstituted PCIC Board.

“The PCIC will continue to implement the agency’s insurance programs, especially its fully- and partly-subsidized insurance programs for self-financed and credit-assisted farmers and fisherfolk, respectively,” Dar said.

The PCIC provides insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural disasters, plant diseases, and pest infestation.