Senate approves measure using 4Ps fund to buy palay from PH farmers on final reading

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate approved on 3rd and final reading a measure authorizing the use of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) rice subsidy funds to buy palay (unhusked rice) from local farmers in select provinces.

Voting 21-0-0, senators passed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) No. 8 on Monday, November 4, which aims to authorize the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in coordination with the National Food Authority, to purchase rice from the following provinces that have "excess rice production."

The joint resolution also encouraged local governments to buy from Filipino farmers.

Beneficiaries of the 4Ps program receive at least P600 rice subsidy per month. Currently, the program has at least P6.97-billion undisbursed allocation.

At the House of Representatives, its counterpart joint resolution already passed the committee level. If it hurdles the House, and if it gets the President's signature, beneficiaries will receive actual rice instead of money.

Signed in February, the rice tariffication law replaced quantitative restrictions on rice imports with tarrifs, in a bid to lower domestic rice prices.

But with lifting of import restrictions, farmgate prices of palay have reportedly dropped to as low as P7 per kilo in some areas. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Plummeting rice prices: How will our rice farmers cope?– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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