DA’s financial assistance program ‘slow and selective’ — PAMALAKAYA

DA’s financial assistance program ‘slow and selective’ — PAMALAKAYA

Manila, Philippines — The national federation of small fishers Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday said that the cash subsidy of the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF) does not cover ‘everyone in the agriculture and fisheries sectors’.

The FSRF aims to distribute P5, 000 each to rice farmers, who till one hectare and below and are listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

“How about those who don’t own a single parcel of land but somehow, are directly involved in the agriculture production? What about the municipal fisherfolk whose livelihood directly rely in fishing? Farmers and fishers are food security frontliners; their socio-economic activities are terribly affected by the lockdown. They deserve necessary government assistance in a form of cash subsidy and relief sans exemptions,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement sent to media outfits.

The fisherfolk group also said the DA has yet to release a ‘statistical report’ on how many fisherfolk have benefitted from its financial and livelihood assistance program.

“Sa mga ulat na inilabas ng DA sa mga nakatanggap ng financial assistance nila, hindi lagi kasama ang mga mangingisda. Dalawa ang pwedeng kahulugan nito; hindi pa natitipon ang bilang ng mga nabigyan o wala pa talagang mangingisdang nakatanggap ng tulong ng gobyerno mahigit isang buwan ng enhanced community quarantine,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon added.

PAMALAKAYA slated the DA for “lacking of sense of urgency” in providing economic assistance to the agricutlture sector.

“How could we keep up with the wheels of production if the agriculture department is slow-footed in delivering the essential livelihood and economic support to the food producers? We are urgently demanding agriculture secretary William Dar not only to fast track the implementation of financial aid program, but also to make it inclusive so as to no one in the agriculture sector will be left behind,” ended Hicap. ###

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