August 21, 2019
SEN. Francis Pangilinan called for the mandatory insurance of palay (unmilled rice) and other crops essential to food security in order to help farmers survive crop destruction due to calamities.
“‘Di mabubuhay ang Pilipino nang walang bigas. Pero ang mga magpapalay natin baon sa utang at hikahos lalo sa tuwing may disaster. Isang pansagip sa kanila ay ang magkaroon sila ng crop insurance. Ito ay isa sa ating mga panukala para maiahon ang mga nagpapakain sa atin (Filipinos can’t live without rice. But our rice farmers become more heavily indebted and impoverished after every disaster. A way to save them is for them to have crop insurance. This is one of our proposals to uplift the lives of those who feed us),” Pangilinan said.
The senator filed Senate Bill 35, or the proposed “Expanded Crop Insurance Act of 2019,” which seeks to amend existing laws that previously require crop insurance only of farmers who avail themselves of production loans.
The proposed amendment to Section 4 of Presidential Decree 1467 as amended by Republic Act 8175, or the “Revised Charter of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) Act of 1995,” on insurance coverage includes the compulsory participation of all farmers in the insurance for palay and other crops determined to be essential for food security.
The proposal also called for the National Food Authority (NFA) to secure crop insurance for farmers in case they are financially incapable and to pay for the insurance premium, which shall become at least 50 percent beneficiary of the insurance proceeds or claim for all other crops.
The measure also provides that within 60 days of the law, the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, administrator of NFA and president of PCIC shall be constituted into a committee with a mandate to draft implementing rules and regulations.
In filing the bill, Pangilinan cited the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and explained that agriculture is among the sectors that consistently registered the highest poverty incidence since 2006.
The senator said despite the vastness of the sector, generating 25 percent of the country’s jobs, farmers were among the poorest in the country. The PSA’s Family Income and Expenditure Survey and Labor Force Survey revealed that farmers posted the highest poverty incidence in 2015 at 34.3 percent.
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