House OKs on 2nd reading reso allowing gov’t to buy palay from farmers

Mara Cepeda
House OKs on 2nd reading reso allowing gov’t to buy palay from farmers
The resolution would authorize the government to use the remaining P6.97-billion rice subsidy fund under 4Ps to buy rice directly from farmers

MANILA, Philippines – The joint resolution that would allow the government to directly purchase palay stock from rice farmers will soon hurdle the House of Representatives. 

On Tuesday, November 5, lawmakers approved on second reading House Joint Resolution (HJR) No. 22 through viva voce voting or a vote of ayes and nays.

The measure would have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it succesfully passes in the House.

HJR 22 would authorize the government to tap into the remaining P6.97-billion rice subsidy fund under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2019 to buy palay from farmers. 

If passed by Congress, the joint resolution would transfer to the National Food Authority the unused P6.97-billion rice subsidy fund under the current budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. 

The government will use these funds to buy palay from local farmers at P19 per kilo.

The Senate approved its version of the joint version on 3rd reading on Monday, November 4.

The joint resolution, once passed by both houses of Congress, would have the full force and effect of the law if President Rodrigo Duterte signs it.

Farmgate prices of palay have reportedly dropped to as low as P7 per kilo in some areas, with critics pinning the blame on the passage of the rice tariffication law that replaced the old import quotas with tariffs. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Plummeting rice prices: How will our rice farmers cope?

The House has realigned P3.5 billion under the proposed P4.1-trillion budget for 2020 to augment the Department of Agriculture’s allocations. This will allow the agency to buy more palay stock from farmers amid the plummeting farmgate prices in parts of the country. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.