DSWD, DA in talks over cash aid for farmers amid El Niño

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26) — The government has not ruled out granting P15,000 in cash subsidy, or ayuda, to farmers who will take a hit from the El Niño phenomenon.

Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Tuesday said the agency is in talks with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for other interventions after the payout of cash aid to rice retailers, which is a separate assistance after Malacañang imposed a price ceiling on the staple.

"Nag-uusap na kami ng Department of Agriculture para masigurado natin na ‘yung intervention na ‘yan ay papasok pa sa mga darating na araw," said Gatchalian.

"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," he added.

[Translation: 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.]

Gatchalian said the DSWD can adopt the aid payout mechanism similar to the subsidy for rice retailers.

He added that the DA should identify the farmer beneficiaries.

RELATED: DSWD to begin giving15,000 aid to small-scale rice retailers in Metro Manila

Farmers earlier complained of losses from the rice price cap policy as millers and traders buy the grain, or palay, from them at a discount.

A number of farm groups and cooperatives earlier sought for a cash subsidy as dthey face the looming threat of severe drought that could hit at least 45 provinces based on PAGASA estimates.

RELATED: PAGASA: Up to 7 storms may enter PAR before 2023 ends; El Niño to hit more provinces