Two days after Christmas day, on December 27, 69-year old Zosima Reduble of Roxas town in Palawan received P5,000 in financial assistance through her cash card issued by the Development Bank of the Philippines and remittance giant USSC, a Banko Sentral-licensed e-money issuer. She was among the 17 farmers within their village in Barangay Antonino issued with a card to receive cash aid.
Reduble is among the two million smallholder rice farmers in the country who began receiving P5,000 each in cash assistance from the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Program, an unconditional cash grant for farmers cultivating below two hectares of rice field.
This is pursuant to Republic Act No. 11598 or the Cash Assistance to Filipino Farmers Act of 2021. The program is funded through the excess tariff collection from rice importations in 2022, totaling P12.7 billion.
The cash aid is also intended to help farmers cope with the increasing cost of production and sustain their productivity even in the face of challenges, such as a drought cited by the Department of Science and Technology as potentially affecting 63 provinces in the country by April 2024.
Since 2021, the Department of Agriculture started the distribution of farmers’ Intervention Monitoring Card (IMC) that serves as both an identification and cash card, specifically for those farmers and fisherfolk registered in the DA’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture, or RSBSA.
Reduble has been farming her entire life in Roxas town, cultivating palay (rice), coconut, cashews, vegetables, bananas, and other crops. Her parents Enrique – who migrated from Masbate to Palaw