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Bill expands insurance coverage for RP farmers

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 6923 seeking to expand the insurance coverage of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) to qualified farmers and fisherfolk.
All 197 House members present during the voting favored the substitute bill which aims to protect fisherfolk and farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, fortuitous events, fish and crop diseases, and pest infestations.
The bill, to be known as the “Revised Charter of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation,” mandates PCIC, the government- owned and controlled corporation that implements the government’s agricultural insurance program, to provide insurance coverage for palay and corn crops, high-value commercial crops, livestock, aquaculture and fishery products, and agroforestry crops.
Insurance coverage shall also be extended to non-crop agricultural assets such as machineries, equipment, transport facilities, and other related infrastructures.
Moreover, the bill stipulates life and accident term insurance coverage for farmers and fisherfolk.
“Such crop insurance shall cover, in every case, the cost of production inputs, the value of the farmer’s or fisherfolk’s own labor and members of the household including the value of the labor of hired workers, and a portion of the projected value of the crops,” according to the bill.
Excluded from insurance coverage are “losses arising from avoidable risks emanating from or due to negligence, malfeasance or fraud committed by the insured or any member of the immediate farm household or employee, or the failure of the insured to follow proven farm practices.”
For palay and other crops essential for food security, all farmers are required to participate in the insurance.
For other crops, participation is compulsory for all farmers obtaining production loans under the supervised credit program, and optional for self-financed farmers provided they agree to place themselves under the supervision of agricultural production technicians.
The rate of premium, as well as the allocated sharing of farmers, fisherfolk, lending institutions, the government, and other parties, will be determined by the board of directors of the PCIC.
This is provided that the government’s share in the premium cost in the form of premium subsidy is limited to subsistence farmers and fisherfolk.
The bill adds that each of these subsistence farmers should be cultivating no more than seven hectares of farmlands each, and each fisherfolk should be cultivating no more than five hectares of fishpond, seaweed, oyster, or mussel farm by themselves or with the help of either hired labor or the labor of their household members.
Ed Velasco

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