Since the first distribution on April 27, 2020, a total of 1,790 rice farmers in Kalinga have already received their P5,000.00 cash aid in the form of cash card from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program.

These rice farmer-beneficiaries are from the municipalities of Tanudan, Rizal, Balbalan, Pinukpuk, and Tabuk City.

The RFFA is meant to assist the rice farmers in the identified Rice Competitiveness and Enhancement Program areas nationwide who were affected by the low buying price of palay after the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) titled “An Act liberalizing the importation, exportation, and trading of rice, lifting for the purpose the quantitative import restriction on rice, and for other purposes” was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on February 14, 2019.

“The RFFA is not a loan program but an unconditional cash transfer to rice farmers affected by Rice Tariffication Law,” explained Agri Chief William D. Dar in his previous talks.
The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP)-Tabuk Branch served as the servicing center for the RFFA. They provided the individual cash cards and assisted the farmers in activating it. It was arranged that the Provincial Capitol be used as the venue for the card distribution because there is an LBP Automated Teller Machine or ATM near the place. This was made possible through the Office of the Provincial Agricultural Services (OPAS) headed by Provincial Agriculturist Engr. Domingo Bakilan.

Meanwhile, Kalinga Agricultural Programs Coordinating Officer (APCO) JR Balag-ey A. Claver said that they have a more than 11,000 targeted RFFA beneficiaries in the province as per initial information provided by the DA-CAR regional focal person for RFFA. They hope to complete the distribution within May 2020 despite the limitations still imposed under the General Community Quarantine which started last May 1 in the province.

“The Local Government Unit of Tabuk coordinated with the designated checkpoints to allow the RFFA beneficiaries coming from Pinukpuk, Rizal, and Tanudan to enter and exit Tabuk City to receive their cash cards,” Claver added.

Accordingly, the distribution was made easier as the beneficiaries and the LBP servicing center was provided copies of the Customer Information Sheet (CIS), a document that serves as an attachment for the release of the cash card.

Uniformed Personnel, the Office of the City Agricultural Services (OCAS), OPAS, and APCO staff facilitated and assisted the activity while ensuring that the health and safety protocols such as wearing face mask and physical distancing were observed.

Meanwhile, Claver said that 207 RFFA beneficiaries will be receiving the cash aid anytime this week through the over-the-counter scheme as soon as the necessary requirements are completed.//Janice B. Agrifino, RAFIS

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Photos Courtesy: APCO-Kalinga staff Mr. Aldwin Colangob