A MEASURE expanding the capitalization of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) to facilitate the expansion of its pool of beneficiaries and product line has been filed in the Senate.

Senate Bill No. 1915, the proposed Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. Act will increase the authorized capital stock of PCIC to P10 billion from the current P2 billion.

“A strengthened PCIC will be able to further protect the interests of farmers and fisherfolk by providing them insurance protection against losses, thus, helping stabilize the income of agricultural producers and promoting the flow of credit to the countryside,” Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay said in the explanatory note of the bill.

The capital increase will involve the issue of 75 million common shares at P100 per share, which the government will fully subscribe for. PCIC will also issue 25 million preferred shares.

If passed, the measure will repeal Presidential Decree No. 1467, which created the PCIC as an agency of the Department of Agriculture.

The bill proposed to include fisherfolk as among those benefiting from insurance cover.

It will also expand coverage to high-value commercial crops, livestock, aquaculture and fishery, agroforestry, and forest plantations.

Currently, the insurance system only applies to rice and corn.

The bill seeks to also cover non-crop agricultural assets such as machinery, equipment, and transport facilities. Life and accident insurance will also be provided to farmers and fisherfolk.

PCIC will also cover state-owned property and facilities for agri-fishery-forestry projects.

The measure proposes to retain the president of the Land Bank of the Philippines as president of the PCIC, with the Secretary of Agriculture holding a board seat, as will a representative from the private insurance industry and three from the farming sector. — Charmaine A. Tadalan