To provide social security for agri workers
TO address the high poverty incidence among farmers and fishermen, Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed a measure seeking to provide a pension program for retired farmers, agricultural workers, and fishermen whose livelihoods have been most severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lapid filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1230, establishing a farmers’ pension program and social security scheme, which he said will guarantee a better quality of life for our retired indigent farmers and fisherfolk, stabilize rural society, and promote rural economic development.
“Dahil kinikilala natin ang kontribusyon ng sektor ng agrikultura sa pagbibigay ng nakabubuhay na trabaho at ‘di matatawarang ambag sa pambansang kaunlaran, ngayon, higit kailanman, na dapat ipakita ng pamahalaan ang kanyang pagmamalasakit sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda na sa matagal na panahon ay nakalimutang kalingain ng ating lipunan,” Lapid said in his explanatory note.
In filing the measure, Lapid stressed that although the country’s agricultural output is in decline, the agricultural sector continues to play a significant role in the Philippine economy.
“Ang agrikultura ang pangunahing pinagmumulan ng trabaho ng marami sa ating mga kababayan bilang ito rin ang pangunahing nagpapatakbo ng ekonomiya sa mga rural na lugar kung saan nakatira ang karamihan sa mga Pilipino,” he added.
In his explanatory note, Lapid also cited that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) had already reported that farmers and fishermen consistently ranked as two of the most impoverished sectors in society, even before the pandemic.
“Bago pa man tamaan ng pandemiya, mababa na ang kalidad ng pamumuhay ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda. Pinalala pa ito ng mga mahigpit na protokol sa kalusugan at mahahabang lockdown na lalong nagpahina sa kita ng kanilang kabuhayan,” he expressed.
In 2018, farmers and fisherfolk registered the highest poverty incidence rates among the basic sectors at 31.6 and 26.2 percent, respectively.
Under SB No. 1230, the creation of an Agricultural Pension Fund shall provide a voluntary pension scheme for the agricultural sector that will ensure underprivileged farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, agricultural workers, and fisherfolks are protected in case of disability and cared for during retirement.