Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla is pushing for scholarship and health services for farmer beneficiaries of the Rice Tariffication Act (Republic Act 11203).
In Senate Bill 231, Padilla also sought to increase the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to enhance the competitiveness of Filipino farmers.
“This measure also proposes to increase the amount earmarked for RCEF from P10 billion annually to P15 billion to aid our farmers in reducing the rice production cost while increasing farmer incomes. In addition to the proposed amendments, this representation proposes that 10% of the RCEF shall be made available for scholarship, health and other similar benefits for the rice fund beneficiaries,” Padilla said in his bill.
He noted there had been issues in the implementation of the law, including loopholes that allowed the entry of rice from abroad – forcing our farmers to lower the prices of their produce.
Worse, he lamented the P10-billion annual RCEF for farm mechanization, seed development, propagation and promotion, and credit assistance and extension services failed to bring down production costs for Filipino farmers.
Padilla proposed amendments to the law in his bill including:
- Allowing the export of rice except during harvest season;
- Increasing the RCEF from P10 billion to P15 billion a year for the next six years;
- Allocating 20% of the Rice Fund for rice seed development, propagation and promotion; and
- Allocating 10% of the Rice Fund for scholarship, health and other benefits for farmer beneficiaries.
“With this representation’s hope to plug the loopholes of RA 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, the passage of this measure is earnestly sought,” said Padilla.