MANILA - The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure seeking to strengthen crop insurance services in the country with additional government support to raise agricultural production of farmers.
Voting through viva voce ( orally rather than in writing), lawmakers passed House Bill 6686, or the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms", which sought to provide full crop insurance coverage to affected agrarian reform beneficiaries in case of natural calamities and pest infestation.
The bill, authored by Deputy Speaker Eric Singson (Ilocos Sur), and co-authored by Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas), mandates the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. to provide insurance to qualified farmers and fisherfolk against losses arising from natural calamities, fortuitous events, plant and fish diseases, and pest infestations.
The insurance covers palay and corn crops, high-value commercial crops, livestock, aquaculture and fishery products, agroforestry crops, and forest plantations as well as non-crop agricultural assets such as types of machinery, equipment, transport facilities and other related infrastructures.
Life and accident term insurance coverage for farmers and fisherfolk may also be provided by the PCIC.
The crop insurance shall cover the cost of production inputs, the value of the farmers' or fisherfolk's own labor and those of the members of his household, including the value of the labor of hired workers, and a portion of the projected value of the crops.
The bill's funding provision, titled "Premium Subsidy", provides that unappropriated or unreleased government premium subsidy for policies written for the period of May 1, 1981 to December 21, 2011, shall be programmed for payment by the government.
The bill states that the government shall provide a premium subsidy but limited to subsistence farmers and fisherfolk.
The premium rate and sharing for subsistence farmers shall be determined by the PCIC Board of Directors and shall be reasonably affordable.*PNA
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