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GIVE FARMERS, FISHERFOLK SOCIAL PENSION – LAPID

Senator Lito Lapid has filed a measure seeking to provide a pension program to retired farmers, agricultural workers, and fishermen whose livelihoods have been most severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lapid, whose priority measures in the 19th Congress focused on social programs for the poor, 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,” the veteran legislator said in his explanatory note.

In filing the measure, the seasoned lawmaker stressed that although the country’s agricultural output is in a decline, it remains to play a significant role in the Philippine economy.

“Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang ito, hangad ko na mabigyan sila ng sapat na pensyon sa panahong nais na nilang magreretiro at mapagpahinga mula sa trabaho.”

“Napakahalaga po ng sektor na ito sa ating ekonomiya para sa inklusibong pag-unlad ng ating bansa. 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. Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang ito, hangad ko na mabigyan sila ng sapat na pensyon sa panahong nais na nilang magreretiro at mapagpahinga mula sa trabaho,” the senator added.

Lapid, in his explanatory note, also cited that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) had already reported that both farmers and fishermen consistently ranked as two of the most impoverished sectors in society, even before the pandemic.

“Bago pa man tamaan ng pandemya, mababa na ang kalidad ng pamumuhay ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda.”

“Bago pa man tamaan ng pandemya, 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 our agricultural sector that will ensure our underprivileged farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, agricultural workers and fisherfolks are protected in case of disability and cared for during retirement.

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