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House panel OKs bill scaling up PCIC capital stock to P10 billion

A House of Representatives panel approved yesterday a measure seeking to strengthen the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation to protect farmers and fisherfolk by providing them insurance protection against losses.

In a virtual hearing, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved the unnumbered substitute bill on House Bills 2649, 3858, and 7627 that seeks to strengthen the financial and organizational capacity of the PCIC by increasing its authorized capital stock, from P2 billion to P10 billion.

AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin, a principal author, said the measure would allow the PCIC to cover high-value crops other than rice and corn, livestock, and the fisheries sector.

Garin said the billions of pesos worth of damage caused by recent typhoons have highlighted the importance of the PCIC.

“It is about time we look into this because the typhoons are erratic and insurance is the only way for them to survive this. And hopefully, it will also help in the food security of our country. If our farmers are happy then we have a happy country,” Garin said.

She said increasing the PCIC capital stock will help mobilize the assistance granted to small farmers and fisherfolk and cater to their needs more effectively.

Under the bill, the PCIC is mandated to insure properties and facilities of the government used in agriculture-fishery-forestry projects, including reinsurance coverage underwritten by private and government insurance companies.

A reserve fund shall be created for catastrophic losses amounting to P500 million, to cover the proportion of all losses in excess of risk or pure premium under the PCIC Crop Insurance Program for small farmers and fisherfolk.

It also mandates the extension of reinsurance coverage to weather index-based insurance and reinsurance for palay and corn crops, high-value commercial crops, livestock, aquaculture and fishery products, agroforestry crops, and forest plantations.

A key provision in the bill will also enable the PCIC to extend life and accident insurance coverage for farmers, fisherfolk, and their dependents.

Garin said a strengthened PCIC can further protect the interest of farmers and fisherfolk by providing them insurance protection against losses and help stabilize the income of agricultural producers.*PNA

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