(Provincial capitol building of Sarangani courtesy of the provincial government) 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Rice and coconut farmers in Sarangani province who were affected by the enhanced community quarantine are set to receive financial assistance from the national government.

Jonathan Duhaylungsod, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, said Wednesday they have started processing the requirements for the release of the subsidy from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

Duhaylungsod said they have already submitted to DA 12 (Soccsksargen) the list of about 4,000 target beneficiaries from the province’s seven municipalities for the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program.

Under the program, he said, qualified farmers would each receive cash assistance of PHP5,000.

“We are now working on the other requirements and system of distribution to the beneficiaries,” Duhaylungsod said in a statement.

He said the target beneficiaries are rice farmers who were forced to stop planting and attending to their crops due to the implementation of quarantine measures amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat.

They were also not covered by the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) assistance based on their validation, Duhaylungsod said, adding that the names of the beneficiaries were provided by the municipal agriculture offices based on the province’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture database.

He said they were hoping that all identified qualified rice farmers in the province would be considered for the RFFA subsidy.

For the assistance to coconut farmers, Duhaylungsod said they were only waiting for the release of the guidelines from the PCA.

He said they have yet to finalize the list of the target beneficiaries, which includes coconut farmers who were into inter-cropping or integrated agriculture system.

Duhaylungsod said PCA governing board member, retired general Benjamin Madrigal Jr., recently informed Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon about the province’s inclusion in the program, which would provide a subsidy of PHP5,000 to each qualified farmer.

“These (DA and PCA subsidies) are a huge relief to our farmers and very timely since the rains are already here and we’re nearing the start of the regular planting season,” he added. (PNA)