House bill seeks allowances for farmers’ children pursuing agriculture in college

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) — A proposed measure was filed at the House of Representatives seeking to provide subsidies to children of qualified indigent farmers who will pursue a degree program related to agriculture in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

The Philippine Statistics Authority said in its October 2022 Labor Force Survey that there has been a continuous employment drop in the agricultural sector since 2020.

Based on year-on-year comparison, the sector had its share of total employment decline from 24.5% (9.7 million) in October 2020 to 24.6% (10.77 million) in October 2021. That further dropped to 22.5% (10.60 million) in October 2022.

House Bill No. 7572 or “The Free Tertiary Agricultural Education Act” seeks to encourage more youngsters to pursue an education or career in agriculture.

“Apart from encouraging more youth to consider entering the said sector, the said measure will also uplift and motivate agricultural research that is vital in the sector’s quest for development,” the bill read.

On top of the free tuition provided under the Republic Act No. 10931 or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act for students in SUCs, HB No. 7572 seeks to grant children of indigent farmers intending to enroll or already enrolled in agricultural degree programs with other incentives or subsidies, including living and transportation allowances.

The bill defines qualified indigent farmers as those “whose sole source of income is agriculture, who actually cultivate or till the land, whether as owner or lessee of the land, or who actually engage in crop production, livestock and poultry farming, and who are included in the registry of farmers of the Department of Agriculture.”

The bill was filed by Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Edvic Yap.