Senator Chiz Escudero is seeking the inclusion of copra farmers affected by the declining prices of copra in the market as beneficiaries in the government’s conditional cash transfer program.
“The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should intervene. If they have the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for the poor, they should also have financial aid for the copra farmers and workers who are affected by the very low price of copra in the market,” Escudero said during a visit to Tacloban City.
The senator said copra farmers who are affected are not only from Eastern Visayas (Region 8) but also from the Bicol Region, where he hails from.
Escudero also questioned the accuracy of the National Household Targeting System of the DSWD in distributing the conditional cash transfer.
“Kasi kung accurate lang talaga ang national home targeting system ng DSWD, e di ang copra farmers and workers, dapat sa ngayon beneficiaries na sila ng Pantawid program. Ang tanong ko, lahat ba sila beneficiary niyan?,” he said.
Escudero said the DSWD should ensure that all affected copra farmer households are given their 4Ps. For those who are not yet included in the program, the DA, for its part, should provide subsidy and alternative livelihood while copra’s price in the market is still low, he said.
“Maraming apektado ngayon. Sana binabantayan ng Deparment of Agriculture at ng PCA iyan na kapagka mababa ang presyo, magbigay sila ng sistensya sa mga pamilya, sa mga coconut farmers dahil maraming hindi makakapag-enroll, maraming hindi makakapasok sa baba ng presyo ng kopra ngayon. At dapat nagshi-shift din sila ng assistance depende sa pandaigdigang presyo ng mga produktong umaasa ng kita ang ating mga kababayan, the senator said.
Escudero also called on the DA to closely monitor the prices of copra and its effects on the copra farmers.
“On a yearly basis or on the monthly basis, dapat binabantayan ng DA iyan. Dapat tinitignan ang presyo para malaman kung apektado nga ba ang partikular na grupo ng magsasaka o hindi. Para mabigyan sila ng assisstance, subsidy o alternative habang mababa ang presyo,” Escudero said.#