The Department of Agriculture (DA) has given P10 million worth of Survival and Recovery (SURE) loans to displaced farmers in besieged Marawi who were affected by the battle between extremist terrorists that took over parts of the city more than two months ago and the government’s security forces.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the DA is also preparing for the end of the Marawi siege by planning to seed the 35,000-hectare Lake Lanao, which straddles the city, with five million indigenous fish fingerlings to prepare the lake for fisherfolk returning to fishing when the crisis ends.
Piñol reported that the DA led by Undersecretary Ranibai Dilangalen turned over P10 million in SURE loans to Marawi farmers as part of its program to ensure that local farmers and fisherfolk could recover from the economic losses they suffered because of the battle.
“The DA was the first agency to distribute cash relief (through the SURE loans) among the Marawi farmer-evacuees under the Task Force Bangon Marawi (approved by President Rorigo Duterte) for the recovery of Marawi,” Undersecretary Dilangalen said.
Each Marawi farmer or fisherfolk identified by the regional DA office could avail of P25,000 in SURE loans so they could have enough money to return to farming or fishing once the security situation allows them, Piñol said. The SURE loans consist of P5,000 grant and P20,000 in non-interest loan payable in one year.
The DA also delivers every week relief goods to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of National Defense (DND) for distribution to evacuees and the military’s soldiers currently engaged in battling the Maute/ISIS insurgents.
Piñol said the DA will also receive a new batch of 100,000 ready-to-eat halal food packs from Ana’s Breeder Farm owned by the Suy family of Davao City for distribution to farmers and soldiers. The Suy family had already donated to the DA a first batch of halal-certified food packs for the Marawi evacuees.
At the same time, Piñol said the DA is preparing for the end of the Marawi siege by directing the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to prepare to seed Lake Lanao, which straddles Marawi, with five million fingerlings of indigenous fish species so that Marawi and Lanao fisherfolk would find good catch once they resume fishing.
The DA has coordinated with the DND to identify the safe and best areas along Lake Lanao to sow the fingerlings, Piñol said.
He said that most Lanao and Marawi fisherfolk are currently unable to do fishing in Lake Lanao because of the security crisis, where the military is still battling extremist insurgents from the Maute/ISIS group.
Piñol said the DA is also going to distribute 500 new fiberglass fishing boats to Marawi and Lanao fisherfolk who lost their boats because of the Marawi battle.