President Marcos has ordered the Department of Agriculture (DA) to utilize the excess collections of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to help rice farmers.
Marcos directed DA officials to use the excess collection beyond the P10-billion requirement to provide drying, mechanization, and other equipment support to rice farmers to sustain their productivity.
The President made the directive during a recent meeting with Agriculture officials, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said on Sunday, Oct. 8.
During his visit in Western Visayas provinces on Friday to lead the distribution of seized smuggled rice to beneficiaries, he mentioned the government’s intention to promptly release to farmers the amounts in excess of the P10-billion fund.
“Yung tinatawag na RCEF, yung nakokolekta sa pagpasok ng imported na agricultural goods. Mayroon po tayong kinokolekta na taripa. Iyang taripa na ‘yan ay ibabalik natin sa mga farmer natin, sa pamamagitan ng mga assistance na ibinibigay ng Department of Agriculture (RCEF comes from the tariff that we collect from agricultural goods. That tariff will go back to our farmers through assistance given by the Department of Agriculture),” Marcos said last Friday.
Under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), revenues collected from rice tariffs should pay for the yearly requirement of P10 billion for the RCEF to bankroll programs and projects raising the competitiveness and output of palay farmers.
In the same meeting, the President also ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to enjoin all local government units to rationalize the pass through fees and other transport costs imposed on motor vehicles transporting goods like rice and other products while passing through local public roads to facilitate the faster and more economical transport of rice.
Marcos issued Executive Order (EO) No. 41 on Sept. 25, prohibiting LGUs from collecting toll fees and charges to all vehicles transporting goods or merchandise while passing through national roads and other thoroughfares not constructed or funded by them to significantly lessen transportation and logistics costs.
He also recently approved the release of P12.7 billion, which will be distributed to 2.3 million small rice farmers who will each receive P5,000 in financial assistance under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program of the government.