Solon proposes bill creating pension scheme for farmers, fisherfolks

A measure seeking to guarantee retired farmers and fishers a steady source of income to meet their basic needs through a pension and social security benefit was filed in the House of Representatives on Friday.

AGRI party-list Representative Wilbert Lee proposed House Bill 2420 or the “Agriculture Pension Act”, which provides for a “Farmers and Fisherfolks Social Security and Pension Program”.

“In the trials that our country has gone through, farmers and fishers continue to work to support their families and ensure adequate food supply in our country. Through this measure, we can concretely show how we seriously value their diligence and sacrifices,” Lee said.

“Through their tireless work, they provide for their families and give life to the agriculture sector and the economy. It is sad that these people who provide food for us every day are having difficulties in making ends meet,” he added.

The party-list lawmaker said the proposed law aims to establish and set up a pension scheme to lessen agricultural workers’ burden after their retirement.

He proposed that the scheme shall consist of a comprehensive set of objectives, targets, and a holistic approach in the provision of sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, death, and funeral benefits to farmers and fisherfolk.

Lee lamented that report stating that farmers and fisherfolk are reported to have the highest poverty incidences among the basic sectors in 2018, being paid an average daily wage of P331.10 in 2019.

“It is unacceptable that farmers and fisherfolk continue to pay debts even when they are already old. They deserve no less than immediate action to aid them in their plight. We must help those who help us so that we will all be winners,” he said.

He explained that the pension scheme shall be made consistent with the package benefits under the existing social security program of the Social Security System (SSS) and relevant programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

The PCIC, an attached agency of the DA, and the SSS shall be the primary implementing agencies of the provisions of this Act.

“As beneficiaries of our farmers’ and fishers’ immense contributions to our country, it is incumbent upon us to address their present and future needs. Let’s ensure that as they get old and retire, they will reap a better life for their families after working hard and making big sacrifices,” he said.

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