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Villar lists 16th Congress legislative achievement in agriculture

Villar lists 16th Congress legislative achievement in agriculture

Sen. Cynthia Villar presented her accomplishments as a senator in the 16th Congress, citing more than 16 landmark legislations which she authored and have been signed into law.

Villar released a brief report of her legislative achievement barely two months before the formal opening of the 17th Congress where the Senate will have a new composition.

For three years as chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, Villar was able to steer the passage into law of 16 significant bills on agriculture and fisheries:

1. Republic Act (RA) No.10659 or the Sugar Industry Development Act, which makes sure that more assistance will be available for sugar workers to boost local sugar’s competitiveness.The law mandates the Department of Budget and Management to include in the program of expenditures annually an amount of P2 billion starting 2016.

The amount will be distributed as follows:

15% for the block farm program; 15% for socialized credit; 5% for scholarship grants, 15% for research and development; and 50% for infrastructure support programs.

2. RA 10654 or the act to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which caused the lifting of the yellow tag imposed by the European Union.If not immediately addressed, the tag would cause a ban on the Philippines to export fish products to one of the country’s largest markets.

The fund will be distributed as follows:

Enforcement: 35%

A. 15% for the purchase, upgrade and maintenance of vessels, communication and other equipment used for the monitoring, control and surveillance, of Philippine waters and distant water fishing;

B. 5% for the payment of litigation expenses, cost of conveyance of witnesses and other costs due to cases filed by or against the Republic of the Philippines in international courts arising from the implementation of this act or where apprehending party or parties become respondents or defendants in any tribunal or court of law;

C. 10% for the continued upgrading of laboratory facilities and equipment; NFRDI;

D. 5% for the capability development of BFAR personnel, deputized law enforcement agencies and volunteers, and stakeholders;

Livelihood and Empowerment of Fisherfolks in the municipal waters- 65%

E. 10% for scholarship grants for children of fisher folks and fish workers in fish catch, aquaculture, fishing and fish processing;

F. 15% for livelihood programs for production enhancement and poverty alleviation; and

G. 15% for assistance to fishermen in the form of shared facilities.

H. 15% for the operating costs of the IFARMC and MFARMC and payment for the cost of rehabilitation, medical expenses for injury, or indemnity for death of law enforcement officers, including deputized volunteers;

3. RA 10848 or the act extending the period of implementation of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) up to year 2022. Under the law, 80% of the fund will be set aside as loan to micro and small enterprises with minimal interest to be managed by the LandBank of the Philippines. Only P5 million per cooperative and P1 million per individual will be released strictly for the acquisition and establishment of agri-based production and post-production, and processing, machineries, equipment and facilities to achieve modern agricultural practices.

· 80% credit facility for micro and small farmers and fisherfolk association/cooperratives to be managed by Land Bank.

· 10% for reserach and devlopment for SUCs

· 10% for scholarship of farmers and fisherfolks to be managed by CHED.

4. RA 10845 or the act declaring large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage. Under the law, the amount of smuggled agricultural product subject to economic sabotage is equal or more than P10 million for rice, and equal or more than P1 million for other agricultural products such as sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrots, fish, and cruciferous vegetables. Violators will face a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided.

5. RA 10816 or the Farm Tourism Development Act, encourages the development of farm areas to attract tourists for production, educational and recreational purposes.

6. RA 10817 or the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act creates the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board to promote the growth and ensure the integrity and quality of Philippine Halal exports.

7- 16. Ten local bills creating multi-specie marine hatchery/ nurseries and provincial training centers in 25 local government units located in 14 provinces, namely: RA 10787 (Lingig, Surigao del Sur), RA 10813 (Jabonga, Agusan del Norte), RA 10825 (Surigao City and Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte), RA 10826 (Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat), RA 10856 (Bantayan, cebu), RA 10857 (Virac, Bato, Baras, Gigmoto, Viga, Panganiban, Bagamanoc, San Andres, Caramoan and Pandan in Catanduanes), RA 10858 (Nasipit, Agusan del Norte), RA 10859 (Jose Dalman, Zamboanga del Norte), RA 10860 (Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte), and RA 10861 (Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Training, Development, and Product Center in Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, and Eastern and Northern Samar.) ###