The state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has disbursed over P1.485 billion in unconditional cash aid to small rice farmers under a Department of Agriculture (DA)-led program.

“A total of 297,000 farmers received the cash assistance of P5,000 each under the DA’s rice farmers financial assistance (RFFA) program,” DBP president and chief executive Emmanuel Herbosa said in a statement on Thursday.

“DBP has taken the necessary steps to fast-track the distribution of this assistance to help our farmers cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to compensate for the income loss due to falling prices of unmilled rice,” Herbosa added.

The RFFA benefits rice farmers in 33 rice-producing provinces who till land ranging between 500 square meters and two hectares.

The cash grant was supposed to be spent on farm inputs and implements, DBP noted.

“DBP has partnered with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-licensed cash outlets to expedite the release of funds to farmer-beneficiaries,” Herbosa said.

“Our partnership with cash outlets allowed DBP to leverage on the nationwide coverage and network of these firms enabling the bank to complete the pay-outs seamlessly and more efficiently,” Herbosa added.

Besides DBP, the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines was also tapped by the DA to pay and distribute these cash assistance. —Ben O. de Vera


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