A ONE-TIME subsidy for farmers and fisherfolk in the amount of P15,000 has been proposed before Congress on Monday to offer them relief amid the rising cost of farm inputs and natural disasters.

The bill’s sponsor, Davao City Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte, said the target of the implementation of his “Production Subsidy Program” are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Unconditional Cash Transfer Program, and other farmers and fisherfolk whose earnings dipped due to rising cost of farm inputs, rising fuel prices and effects of calamities.

The proposed subsidy is expected to cover 9.7 million farmers and fisherfolk and requires a funding of P145.5 billion to be allocated under the Department of Agriculture.

Fund sources for the subsidy are the national budget, savings from the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, and excess and new revenue collections, among others.

Also eyed as funding sources would be unutilized or unreleased balances in special purpose funds, cash, funds and investments from government-owned and -controlled corporations or government agencies, and unused appropriation for debt servicing.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2021 said that fisherfolk maintained the highest poverty rate of 30.6%, up from 26.2% in 2018, while farmers were at 30% (from 31.6%).

The PSA is expected to finish their latest census of farmers and fisherfolk by Oct. 25. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz