Romualdez hails BBM’s directive for additional farmers’ assistance using excess RCEF collections

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday hailed President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to Department of Agriculture officials to use excess rice tariff collections to help farmers.

“This gesture manifests the unwavering resolve of President Marcos, Jr. to boost agricultural production, particularly of rice, to ensure a stable supply of food for every Filipino family at affordable prices and uplift the lives of our farmers,” said Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives.

Reports earlier said that Marcos has ordered DA officials to use excess RCEF collection beyond the P10 billion requirement to provide additional assistance to farmers, such as drying, mechanization, and other equipment support to enhance their productivity.

Republic Act 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), mandates that revenues collected from rice tariffs should pay for the yearly requirement of P10 billion for the RCEF to bankroll programs and projects, raising the competitiveness and output of palay farmers.

“The excess collections from rice tariffs channeled into supporting our rice farmers will enable them to access modern farming technologies, improve their agricultural practices, and ultimately increase their productivity,” Romualdez said.

“Moreover, this initiative will foster resilience within our agricultural sector, ensuring that we continue to meet our domestic rice requirements and reduce our dependency on rice imports,” he added.

It could be recalled that during a visit to inspect irrigation projects in San Rafael, Bulacan last month, Romualdez bared that President Marcos, Jr. had discussed with him over dinner the idea of using excess RCEF collection to extend additional assistance to rice farmers.

Through the additional assistance, Romualdez said President Marcos wants to help cut production costs of our rice farmers, which would eventually translate to lower rice prices for the consumers.

As leader of the House of Representatives, Romualdez had vowed the chamber would provide around P40 billion in additional funding for irrigation projects under the 2024 national budget to support the President’s mission to increase agricultural production in the country.
The use of excess RCEF collections is the latest in a series of initiatives by President Marcos to improve the lot of rice farmers and bring food prices down.

To improve farmers’ income, the National Food Authority (NFA) Council—chaired by President Marcos—increased NFA’s buying prices of palay from P19 to P23 per kilo for dry and from P16 to P19 per kilo for wet.

President Marcos also recently approved the release of P12.7 billion for 2.3 million small rice farmers, who will each receive P5,000 in financial assistance under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program of the government.

Likewise, he issued Executive Order (EO) No. 41 on Sept. 25, prohibiting LGUs from collecting toll fees and charges to all vehicles transporting goods or merchandise while passing through national roads and other thoroughfares to significantly lessen transportation and logistics costs.

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