Pangilinan wants to make insurance mandatory for palay, other essential crops

NFA should buy insurance for indigent rice farmers: Kiko

MANILA — To help farmers survive crop destruction due to calamities, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan seeks to make insurance mandatory for palay and other crops essential to food security.

Senate Bill 35, or the proposed Expanded Crop Insurance Act of 2019, seeks to amend existing laws which previously require crop insurance only of farmers who avail themselves of production loans.

“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),” Panglinan said.

The proposed amendment to Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1467 as amended by Republic Act 8175, or the Revised Charter of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) Act of 1995, on insurance coverage is as follows:

“Participation in the insurance for palay and other crops determined to be essential for food security shall be compulsory upon all farmers.

“In case farmers are financially incapable, the National Food Authority (NFA) shall secure crop insurance for them.

“The NFA shall secure crop insurance for them. The NFA shall pay for the insurance premium and shall become at least a 50% beneficiary of the insurance proceeds or claim for all other crops.”

The bill 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 committee with a mandate to draft the implementing rules and regulations.

In the explanatory note of the bill, Pangilinan cited the Philippine Statistics Authority and explained that agriculture is among the sectors which consistently registered the highest poverty incidence since 2006.

Pangilinan, who tends a farm himself, said that despite the vastness of the sector, generating 25% of the country’s jobs, farmers are 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%.

For the 18th Congress, Pangilinan has filed 12 other agriculture- and environment-related bills. They are: Senate Bills 31 on Coco Levy Trust Fund, 32 on creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, 33 on Post-harvest Facilities, 34 on Organic Agriculture, 36 on Rainwater Management, 40 on Single-use Plastic Regulation,

256 on Agricultural Land Conversion Ban, 257 on Urban Agriculture, 263 on Solid Waste Importation Ban, 423 on Food Waste Reduction, 638 on Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Incentives, and 639 on National Mangrove Forest Protection and Preservation.