A BILL that seeks to give retired farmers and fisherfolk pension amid a coronavirus pandemic has been refiled at the Senate. 

“Even before the pandemic hit, the quality of life of our farmers and fishermen was already low,” Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid said in statement in Filipino on Monday. “It was made worse by the strict health protocols and long lockdowns that further weakened their livelihoods.”  

The poverty incidence among farmers and fishermen was 31.6% and 26.2% in 2018, among the highest of any sector, the senator said, citing data from the local statistics agency. 

“Since we recognize the contribution of the agricultural sector in providing viable employment and unforgivable contributions to national development, now, more than ever, the government must show its concern for our farmers and fishermen who have been forgotten for a long time,” he added. 

Senate Bill 1230 or the proposed Agricultural Pension Fund Act will set up a pension program to improve the lives of farmers and fishermen and promote rural economic development. 

The creation of an Agricultural Pension Fund will ensure underprivileged farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, agricultural workers and fisherfolk are protected upon retirement and in case of disability. 

The measure includes retirement benefits of at least P1,500 monthly and at least P18,000 in death benefits to a beneficiary. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan