The Marcos administration has not ruled out granting Php15,000 in cash subsidy to farmers who will be severely affected by the El Niño phenomenon, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Tuesday (September 26) said the agency is in talks with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for other interventions after the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) payout of cash aid to micro rice retailers and sari-sari store owners selling rice.
The DSWD chief earlier said the SLP payout for sari-sari store owners will start on Friday (September 29) following Malacanang’s imposition of a price cap on regular and well-milled rice through Executive Order No. 39.
“Nag-uusap na kami ng Department of Agriculture para masigurado natin na ‘yung intervention na ‘yan ay papasok pa sa mga darating na araw,”Secretary Gatchalian said in an interview.
“Sa ngayon tinatapos natin ‘yung sa small rice retailers. I am a hundred percent sure na ang ating Pangulo ay pabubuksan ang shortlist sa Department,” the DSWD chief pointed out.
(We are coordinating with the Department of Agriculture to make sure the intervention will arrive in the coming days. Right now, we are finishing with the small rice retailers. I am a hundred percent sure the president will want to see the shortlist with the department.)
Secretary Gatchalian said the DSWD can adopt the SLP-cash aid payout mechanism similar to the subsidy for small and micro rice retailers. The list of SLP beneficiaries was provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The DSWD chief said the DA will be the one to identify the SLP farmer-beneficiaries who will be most affected by the El Niño phenomenon.
Aside from SLP, the DSWD launched Project LAWA, or the Local Adaptation to Water Access, in Davao de Oro, Ifugao, and Antique last August 31 to help improve the resiliency of communities affected by the El Niño phenomenon.
Project LAWA is an early action plan of the government to mitigate the impacts of drought and dry spells by establishing small farm reservoirs (SFRs), which will be participated in by the community.
To assist the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized families of Indigenous Peoples (IPs), farmers, and fisherfolk, the DSWD, through its cash-for-training and –work, will provide financial support as an alternative income in exchange for the work rendered by the beneficiaries while constructing the alternative water resources.
The DSWD vowed to continue providing interventions that will assist the vulnerable sectors amid the El Niño phenomenon.