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AGRI PARTY-LIST: SEND AID TO ‘ODETTE’-HIT FARMERS

AGRI Party-list is urging the government to fast-track and prioritize aid for farmers and fisherfolk affected by Typhoon Odette.

“Kung ano man ang na-preposition na seeds para sa palay at mais at mga gamot para sa poultry at livestock ay ipamigay na sa mga magsasakang sinalanta ng bagyong Odette. Gayundin ang mga relief packs para sa mga magsasaka at mga mangingisdang nawalan ng kabuhayan dahil sa bagyo,” said AGRI first nominee and former judge Frank Lobrigo.

As of 4 pm of December 17, Friday, most affected were rice crops with P7,644,000 in damages, followed by corn crops with P6,090,000.

AGRI issued the call after the Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in its latest report said that Odette’s damage to the province’s agricultural sector has already hit P14.48 million in just three towns.

“Halos labinlimang milyong piso na agad ang pinsala, at considering na sa tatlong bayan pa lang ito ng Iloilo, siguradong lolobo pa ito kapag pumasok na ang mga report galing sa mga ibang lugar na dinaanan ng bagyo. Napakalaking kawalan nito para sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda lalo na sa mga subsistence farmers at fisherfolk,” Lobrigo stressed.

As of 4 pm of December 17, Friday, most affected were rice crops with P7,644,000 in damages, followed by corn crops with P6,090,000. Damages to fishing boats were pegged at P710,000; other crops including bananas and papaya at P32,000; while damages to poultry and fowls were estimated at P6,259, and livestock at P3,000.

Inclement weather was one of the primary reasons the country’s agricultural production fell in the first three quarters of the year, based on data from the Department of Agriculture, agriculture damages caused by Typhoon Maring reached P1.7 billion, while P1.36 billion in damages was caused by Typhoon Jolina. Typhoon Fabian, meanwhile, caused P698.53 million worth of farm losses.

The former judge reiterated the importance of orienting farmers on climate change and climate-resilient crops.

“The damages caused by Odette only underscores the urgency for the government to seriously address this yearly challenge to agriculture.”

Lobrigo previously said the agriculture sector in the Philippines is “perennially severely hit by adverse weather conditions due to climate change” and stressed that “climate change has the potential to disrupt crop productivity, and in turn affect domestic agricultural production, consumption, and food security.”

“The damages caused by Odette only underscores the urgency for the government to seriously address this yearly challenge to agriculture. Considering the number of typhoons that traverse the country every year, we must look for sustainable and climate-resilient means of production to uplift the quality of life of our farmers and fisherfolk,” he said.

AGRI has also urged the national government to include a permanent slot for a representative from the agriculture and fisheries sectors in future delegations to be sent to the annual United Nations climate change conference.

“As agriculture plays a significant role in the Philippine economy, involving about 40% of Filipino workers and contributing an average of 20% to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), dapat siguro maglaan tayo ng isang permanent slot para magkaroon ng representation ang agriculture sector sa mga susunod pang climate change conferences,” he said.

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