As early as 6:30 in the morning, 69-year-old Senina De La Cruz from barangay Alimsog waited at the Sto. Domingo Covered Court to receive her cash and food aid from the government on January 26, 2020.

“Mas marhay na maatab asin maenot sa linya para sa biyaya na ining tinao kan gobyerno sako,” said de la Cruz.

She is one of the 46 coconut farmers or “cocoteros” from barangays Alimsog, San Roque, Sta. Misericordia, Salvacion, San Andres and San Fernando who will be receiving their Cash and Food Subsidy from the Philippine Coconut Authority worth Php5,000.00.

According to PCA Agriculturist Franklin Barcena,  the Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginal Farmers and Fisherfolk Program (CFSMFFP) of the Department of Agriculture will aid the beneficiaries  recover from the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and damages caused by the strong typhoons that hit the region last November and December 2020.

PCA Agriculturist Karen Rodulfo added that the cocoteros will receive Php3,000.00 cash assistance and Php2,000.00-worth of food items which include rice (Php1,000.00), dressed chicken (Php600.00), and eggs (Php400.00).

However, the cash aid will be claimed at any MLhuiller center through the use of an e-voucher system to ensure more efficient distribution. 

This program will provide market support to local producers of rice, chicken, and eggs; and opening up sources of livelihood for farmers, farmer cooperatives and associations, and micro enterprises as distribution partners in the program.

For the province of Albay, a total of 209 cocoteros from Tiwi, Sto.Domingo, Polangui, Malilipot, Malinao, Guinobatan and Tabaco City will benefit from this government aid.

Meanwhile, 93 farmers from Balud, Masbate have already received said  government subsidy. A total of 890,794 farmers and fisherfolk who are RSBSA-registered and are hardest hit are expected to benefit from the program. Out of these number, 346,534 are coconut farmers, 287,128 fisherfolk, 198,023 are corn farmers, 29,702 are sugarcane farmers, while the remaining 29,407 are members of the indigenous communities. The P4.5-B CFSMFFP fund is under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2. (jaysonmgonzales with additional news from Willy Nelmida with additional photos from PCA and Nelmida)