Sarangani farmers to get assistance from nat’l gov’t

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 29 April) – 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.

Rice farmers in Sarangani. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Jonathan Duhaylungsod, head of the Sarangani 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).

He said they already submitted to DA-Region 12 the list of around 4,000 target beneficiaries from the province’s seven municipalities for the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program.

Under the program, Duhaylungsod said the qualified farmers will receive a cash assistance of P5,000 each.

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

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

They were also not covered by the Social Amelioration Program or SAP assistance based on their validation, he said.

Duhaylungsod said 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 are hoping that all identified qualified rice farmers in the province will be considered for the RFFA subsidy.

For the assistance to coconut farmers, the official 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 Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon on the province’s inclusion into the program, which will provide a subsidy of P5,000 each to qualified farmers.

“These [DA and PCA subsidies] are 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. (MindaNews)