LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Some 6,000 farmers and fisherfolk in Benguet province are set to receive at least P29,342,000 worth of cash assistance and fuel discount from the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR).
The assistance is part of the approved Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) Phase II and the Fuel Discount Program for corn farmers and fisherfolk.
Cameron Odsey, regional executive director of DA-CAR, together with DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-CAR Regional Director Lilibeth Signey, and Fisherfolk Director Osmena Lampitao, led the ceremonial launching and provincial orientation of stakeholders on Friday (May 6) at Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet.
Itogon is a convergence municipality that covers rice farming, corn farming, and fishing, hence, the activity pushed through in the said town. Fisherfolk representatives from the nearby municipality of Bokod also joined the activity.
Certificates of Award were presented to the identified beneficiary representatives for the fuel discount program while symbolic Interventions Monitoring Card (IMC) were presented to the RFFA beneficiary representatives.
Odsey assured that the DA along with its attached bureaus and agencies will continue to support the farmers and fisherfolk.
He encouraged them, especially those who have already received various interventions from the government, to value such interventions because it is uncertain whether similar programs will be offered again in the coming years.
DA-CAR Rice Program Coordinator Edwin Franco oriented the participants on the RCEF-RFFA. Accordingly, the assistance targets small rice farmers who are tilling or owning a rice field of two hectares and below.
Each beneficiary will receive P5,000 unconditional cash assistance which further aims to provide temporary relief to eligible farmers throughout the Rice Tariffication Law implementation.
Franco cited that there are 1.9 million eligible rice farmers registered and encoded in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) nationwide, hence, a prioritization criteria was put in place as the available funding can only accommodate 1.8 million farmers.
There are 87,662 target beneficiaries in Cordillera with a budget of P438,310,000. At least 5,000 beneficiaries from Benguet province will be chosen.
The highest priority is given for those eligible rice farmers who have not yet received cash assistance from the RCEF-RFFA that was distributed in 2021. The intervention shall also be channeled through the Development Bank of the Philippines and their partner financial technology institution.
Meanwhile, the Fuel Discount Program is intended for corn farmers who have registered functional machineries. Similarly for the fisherfolk, they should have functional motorized motorboats as a primary requirement to avail of the program.
Under the program, the beneficiaries are given a 30% fuel discount upon purchase of gasoline or diesel from partner oil companies. They can avail of up to a maximum of P3,000 worth of fuel discount per beneficiary.
For Benguet, the expected beneficiaries are at least 40 corn farmers and 60 fisherfolk.
The allocated funds are set to be downloaded to the DA from the Department of Budget and Management. Finalization of the master list of beneficiaries based on the prioritization and qualification criteria is also underway.