THE HOUSE Committee on Appropriations has approved the funding provision of a substitute bill strengthening the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) and improving its capability to give farmers additional government support for agricultural production.
The bill amends Section 2 of Republic Act 8175, or the Revised Charter of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. Act of 1995, which institutes the policy of the State to ensure food security, intensify food production, promote agricultural credit, and broaden the coverage of mandatory crop insurance.
The PCIC will be mandated to provide life and accident term insurance coverage for farmers and fishermen, as determined by the company’s board of directors.
The crop insurance will be worth the amount of the production inputs; the value of the farmers’ or fishermen’s own labor and those of 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 also seeks to improve the capability of banks and other financial institutions in giving loans to farmers.
Government-financed agrifishery-forestry projects and government-owned properties and facilities used for them will also be covered by the PCIC insurance.
The crop-insurance firm will also be authorized to provide reinsurance coverage to these properties and facilities under the private and government insurance companies.
The participation in crop insurance of all growers of palay (unhusked rice) and other crops essential for food security will be required, as well as the participation of all farmers obtaining production loans under the supervised credit program.
Self-financed farmers will also be covered, provided that they will agree to place themselves under the supervision of agricultural-production technicians.
The government will also be mandated to provide premium subsidy to subsistence farmers who are cultivating not more than seven hecates of farmlands, and fishermen who are cultivating not more than five hectares of fishpond, seaweed, oyster or mussel farm.
The premium rate will be determined by the PCIC board of directors and will be “reasonably affordable.”
According to PCIC President Jovy Bernabe, the bill’s approval would greatly help his corporation’s insurance capacity.
“It will enable the PCIC to substantially contribute to the role of the government to improve the lives of the farmers by providing them with insurance protection against losses arising from natural calamities and pests diseases and will also help our farmers become climate change resilient,” Bernabe said in a statement.