Legislators seek probe on P1-B insurance coverage for ARBs

LAWMAKERS today moved to summon the officials of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to explain before a congressional body how it dispensed the P1-billion budget for the insurance coverage in support of the agrarian reform beneficiaries allotted by Congress.

COOP-NATCCO Party-list Reps. Cresente Paez and Jose Ping-ay filed House Resolution 2816 urging the House Committee on Agrarian Reform to invite the officials of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and PCIC to shed light on the matter.

Paez said the PCIC even admitted that there was no data available on the number of agrarian reform beneficiaries who benefited from the program.

Paez said the summary of production and indemnity for an insurance line of palay from 1981 to 2011 or for a period of 30 long years covers only 3,373, 656 farmers and indemnified 963,059 farmers for only P2,843,571,000, while corn covers 491,785 farmers and indemnified in the amount of P681,716,000 from 1982 until 2011 or a period of 29 years.

“The amounts reported are quite minimal given a longer period of time,” Paez said.

“The Aquino administration intends to increase farmer productivity and help facilitate the trade of produce. This will not be realized if there is inadequate protection against crop damages as a result of plants disease, natural calamities and other perils,” Paez quoted from President Aquino’s speech.

The P1-billion insurance coverage cropped up during the recent 2013 budget hearing of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Agrarian Reform.

Paez said the budget was coursed through to the PCIC the implementing agency of the DA.

The PCIC, an attached agency of DA, is a government-owned and controlled corporation and operates as the implementing agency of government’s agricultural insurance program.

The PCIC’s mandates is to provide insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, plant diseases and pest infestation of their palay and corn crops as well as other crops.

According to Republic Act 1000 or the Agri-Agra reform Credit Act of 2009, beneficiaries of the agrarian reform refers to farmers who were granted lands under Presidential Decree No 27, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and Republic Act 9700 or the “Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Extension with Reforms” and regular farm workers who are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement, who benefited from the redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced.

The PCIC offers insurance programs such as rice crops insurance, corn crop insurance, high-value commercial crop, non-crop agricultural asset insurance, livestock insurance, term insurance packages, which are the agricultural producers protection plan, loan repayment protection plan and accident and dismemberment security scheme and fisheries insurance.

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