SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
18 December 2020 12:49:45 PM
The Committee on Agriculture and Food, chaired by Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga (1st District, Quezon), deliberated on two measures Friday, seeking to reinforce Republic Act 7607 or the Magna Carta of Small Farmers. House Bill 1007, authored by Deputy Speaker Michael Romero, Ph.D. would amend Section 27, Chapter VIII of RA 7607 by providing stiffer penalties against any official or employee of the National Food Authority (NFA) found conniving with traders in the procurement of agricultural produce. Violators would then be penalized with a fine of P50,000 or imprisonment of three to five years instead of the present penalty of P10,000 fine or two to four years of imprisonment. Meanwhile, HB 3162 by Rep. Christian Unabia (1st District, Misamis Oriental) aims to underpin the price support system of agricultural produce to help increase the income of farmers and prevent traders from taking advantage of small farmers. During the hearing, Enverga assured that legislators are determined to work on both bills to update the 28-year-old law and ultimately improve the lives of all Filipino farmers. He added that the committee would also ensure that corn farmers are not left behind. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Evelyn Lavina expressed the DA's support for the bills, saying that the law's amendment is long overdue and that existing stipulations of RA 7607 are detrimental to the long term interests of small farmers. The panel created a technical working group to further discuss the measures at hand. It will be chaired by Rep. Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija).