House solon seeks ‘rice allowance’ for private sector workers

September 20, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 472 views

AS the government is working on implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the “rice allowance” to be provided to public employees, a party-list lawmaker has called on Congress leadership to start deliberations on a proposal that would also give the same allowance to workers from the private sector.

“Huwag na natin hintayin na sabihin ng mga kababayan natin na ‘sana all.’ Talakayin po natin ang panukalang naglalayong itatag ang mga partership sa pagitan ng private sector at mga magsasaka para sa rice allowance ng mga empleyado nila,” said AGRI Party-list Representative Wilbert Lee.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. announced last week that he is looking to provide a rice allowance to government employees to help with their daily expenses.

Lee had earlier filed House Bill (HB) No. 1296, or “An Act Promoting Corporative Farming and Providing Incentives for its Effective Implementation”, which aims to encourage “corporative farming.” Corporative farming is a portmanteau of corporate and cooperative farming.

The bill seeks to establish partnerships between farming organizations and communities with domestic corporations. Under such an agreement, farming organizations would supply labor, expertise, and/or their landholdings, while private companies provide the necessary capital and guarantee the purchase of the harvest.

“Corporative farming allows us to implement a measure that benefits not only private sector employees but also our farmers. The rice allowance will help employees cope with the rising cost of goods, while farmers are given a sure market and guarantees that their crops will be bought at fair value,” said the lawmaker.

Under the bill, the corporations/partnerships that engage in corporative farming agreements shall be required to provide a minimum of 600 kilograms of rice/corn per employee per year or 50 kg per employee per month. Any excess produced would be sold to the National Food Administration (NFA) at prevailing market prices.

Companies that enter into corporative farming agreements shall be entitled to tax incentives covering all aspects of the operation related to corporative farming activities. These include:

– Exemption from the payment of customs duties on the importation of all types of agricultural inputs, particularly seeds, fertilizers, agricultural machinery, and other agricultural implements, as provided under Republic Act No. 9281, which amends Republic Act No. 8435 or the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act;

– Exemption from the value-added tax on the importation of agricultural inputs in accordance with Section 109(d) of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended; Provided that the importation requirement shall be in accordance with the provisions of R.A. No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010;

– Exemption from the payment of capital gain tax for a person, either natural or juridical, who sells and or transfers idle agricultural land to three corporations or partnerships engaged in corporative farming; and

– Tax incentives, including income tax holiday, in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investment Code, as amended.

Lee expressed hope that Congress would prioritize the said bill.

“This measure shows us that there is a solution to the rising cost of goods through collaboration among the public and private sectors and our farmers. I hope that we can pass this bill soon so that we can help not just government employees, but all employees,” Lee said.