Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid is now pushing for a bill seeking to provide full crop insurance for qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
In filing Senate Bill No. 1766, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 6657, Lapid said it is imperative for qualified farmers who are actually tilling the land and have made investments in growing crops or stocks in fisheries farms, production inputs and other farming implements to benefit in the government’s crop insurance program.
The bill also covers other non-crop agricultural assets necessary in the actual cultivation, and livestock as certified by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
“The Philippines, being located along the Ring of Fire, is vulnerable to frequent typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions...These natural disasters undoubtedly affect the farmers’ livelihood. Not only that, but also have an impact on a larger scale, i.e., food production in and food security of the country,” Lapid said in the explanatory note of the bill.
Lapid said a full crop insurance is one the effective instruments that the government can utilize in mitigating the consequences of natural calamities on the agricultural sector.
“Sa pagbibigay ng karagdagang suporta, hindi lamang mapapanatili ang kita ng ating mga magsasaka kundi pati na rin ang ang produksyon ng pagkain at seguridad sa pagkain ng bansa (By providing additional support, not only will the income of our farmers be maintained but also the food production and food security of the country),” Lapid said.
Under the bill, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) would be the implementing agency of the government’s agricultural insurance program which provides insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, plant diseases, and pest infestations of their crops.
The measure also provides protection against damage to or loss of non-crop agricultural assets including but not limited to machinery, equipment, and other related infrastructures due to perils insured against.
Lapid also pointed out that the participation of agricultural workers in the government agricultural insurance program remains low because farmers are required to pay a premium.
“Isa sa mga pangunahing dahilan kung bakit mababa ang partisipasyon ng ating mga magsasaka sa agricultural insurance program ng gobyerno ay ang premium na kailangan nilang bayaran (One of the main reasons why the participation of our farmers in the government's agricultural insurance program is low is the premium they have to pay),” he said.
“Bagama't kalahati nito ay na-subsidize na ng gobyerno, ang natitirang halaga ay naturang pabigat pa rin sa ating mga magsasaka (Although half of it has been subsidized by the government, the remaining amount is still a burden on our farmers),” the lawmaker noted.