RCEF-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA)
Section 13 of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), provides that if the annual tariff revenues from rice importation exceeds Ten Billion Pesos (Php 10,000,000,000.00) in any given year within the six (6) year period following the effectivity of the RTL, the excess tariff revenues shall be earmarked by Congress and included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of the following year for other intended purposes.
Among the intended purposes of the excess tariff revenue is the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance. The fund shall be provided as financial assistance to eligible rice farmers as compensation for the projected reduction or loss of farm income arising from the tariffication of the quantitative import restrictions on rice.
The program was further strengthened with the enactment of Republic Act No. 11598 or the Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act last December 2022. Given the urgency to assist the farmers in view of the declining palay prices and the crippling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, RA 11598 authorized the Department of Agriculture (DA) to utilize the annual tariff revenues to directly provide cash assistance to eligible beneficiaries until 2024. This means that all excess tariff collections shall be solely devoted to cash assistance to Filipino rice farmers.
- Provide cash assistance to smallholder RSBSA-registered rice farmers tilling rice lands of two (2) hectares and below; and
- Provide temporary relief to eligible farmers throughout the implementation of the RTL.
Scope and Coverage
A. The RCEF-RFFA shall cater to eligible farmers satisfying the following qualifications:
- Registered in the updated RSBSA; and
- Has a total cumulative rice area declared in the RSBSA that does not exceed two (2) hectares;
B. All rice producing provinces in the country are covered.
Identification of Farmer-beneficiaries
A prioritization criterion of farmers-beneficiaries was formulated to ensure that the cash assistance program has wider reach among Filipino rice farmers nationwide.
In formulating this criterion, the following were considered; receipt of cash assistance from DA, registration in the RSBSA, and rice area cultivated, as illustrated below:
Procedure in claiming cash assistance
- The DA through its Regional Field Offices (RFOs) shall coordinate with the Municipality/City Agricultural Officers to schedule and gather farmer beneficiaries at the most convenient time and area for the face-to-face KYC validation and subsequent distribution of the Interventions Monitoring Card (IMC);
- The Financial Technology (FINTECH) partner/s shall conduct an onsite farmer verification to have a liveness check before the issuance of the IMC;
- After identity verification, the FINTECH partner/s shall print the IMC with the RSBSA number, account number, full name of the beneficiary, QR code, and farmer’s photo which can be given to the beneficiaries;
- For distribution and payment of the RCEF-RFFA cash assistance, the Government Financial Institutions (GFIs) may utilize any combination of the following modes:
- Credit to account or E-Wallets maintained with BSP-supervised Financial Institutions; and or
- Countryside Financial Institutions (e.g., rural banks, cooperative banks, and thrift banks);
- Accredited Remittance Centers/Companies;
- ATMs being managed by other Rural Banks;
- Other conduits that the DA and partner GFO may agree upon