By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Taking the cudgels for farmers, former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, Sept. 22 questioned the takeover of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) from the Department of Agriculture (DA) by the Department of Finance (DOF).
“Bakit kailangang i-transfer sa DoF… eh, ang DA ang mas nakaaalam sa mga kaganapan sa agricultural sector? (Why is there a need to transfer to Department of Finance?) Nasa DA ang lahat ng pertinent data tungkol sa naturang sector. (The DA has al the pertinent data on this sector). ‘Di ba ang PCIC was (Was not PCIC) formed to provide insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural disasters, plant diseases, and pest infestation?” he asked.
The former lawmaker noted that farmers, through the Federation of Free Farmers, have expressed apprehension that under the DoF, the PCIC’s priority will shift to fiscal and monetary concerns which may not necessarily be supportive of the needs of farmers and the DA.
“Dapat ikonsidera rin ang agam-agam ng ating mga magsasaka dahil sila ang sektor na apektado dito sa paglipat na ito (They should have taken into consideration the fears of our farmers because they are the ones affected). Dapat ay kinunsulta sila (They should have been consulted),” Marcos said, adding that the lack of consultation was one of the sentiments that farmers raised.
Marcos said there is a need to review Executive Order No. 148 which transferred the PCIC to the DoF for “policy and program coordination, and general supervision,” allegedly in a bid to ensure that government assets and resources are used effectively.
For its part, the DoF on Sunday announced that it is no longer keen on privatizing the crop insurance firm but is mulling over involving the private sector for reinsurance.
The DoF added that involving the private sector in reinsurance would bode well for farmers because re-insurance would most likely allow the expansion of coverage to more farmers and more crops and livestock.