THE Department of Agriculture (DA) led the distribution of P5,000 cash assistance to each farmer from San Luis and Santa Ana towns enrolled under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA).

RCEF-RFFA is the provision of P5,000 direct cash assistance for farmers registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) who farm two hectares down. The funding comes from the P7.6 billion excess tariff collection from rice imports in 2019 and 2020.

The ceremonial distribution program was attended by DA-Undersecretary for Operations Engr. Ariel Cayanan, DA-Assistant Secretary for Operations Engr. Arnel De Mesa, DA Regional Executive Director Crispulo Bautista Jr., along with local officials of the two towns.

The enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), marked a significant transition in the Philippine rice industry, from one protected by quantitative restrictions on import to its replacement by a more open trading regime for rice.

Apart from this provision, RTL created the RCEF-RFFA Program to provide secure and direct unconditional cash assistance amounting to P5,000 to RSBSA registered rice farmers with landholdings of two hectares and below as compensation for the projected reduction or loss of farm income arising from the tariffication of the quantitative import restrictions on rice.

Through the RTL, P10 billion is also allocated annually for RCEF.