CASH ASSISTANCE. At least 4,000 more farmers in Pampanga province have received cash assistance from the government through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund - Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) program. The beneficiaries got PHP5,000 each during the distribution activities held on Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 28-29, 2022) at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Government of Pampanga)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – An additional 4,000 farmers in this province have received cash assistance from the government through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund - Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) program.

Governor Dennis Pineda said on Wednesday that the farmer-beneficiaries received PHP5,000 each during the distribution activities held on Monday and Tuesday at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center.

Under the special provisions of the RCEF, the RFFA program provides unconditional cash assistance amounting to PHP5,000 to each rice farmer who is registered under the Registry Systems for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and tills two hectares of land or less.

The fund comes from the rice tariffs collected annually in excess of the PHP10 billion allocated for the RCEF.

Crispulo Bautista, director of the Department of Agriculture in Central Luzon (DA-3), said the RCEF-RFFA is now in its third phase with an aim to sustain its support to rice farmers who are affected by the drop in palay farm gate prices in time with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

“The RCEF-RFFA aims to provide monetary assistance as compensation for the projected reduction or loss of farm income arising from the tariffication of the quantitative import restrictions on rice,” Bautista said in a social media post.

He said the release of cash assistance also provides relief to rice farmers affected by the recent natural calamities, particularly in securing farm inputs, such as fertilizer.

Aside from cash assistance, Bautista said the DA-3 is continuously providing various interventions to palay farmers, such as hybrid seeds, certified palay seeds, fertilizer discount vouchers, and technical assistance.

Meanwhile, Pineda thanked the DA for its continuous support to the farmers.

“Kami ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa mga ayuda ibinibigay sa ating magsasaka (We are thankful for the assistance being provided to our farmers),” the governor said.

During the event, the farmer-beneficiaries were also provided free medical consultations, eyeglasses and food packs under the provincial government's "Alagang Nanay Preventive Health Care" program. (PNA)