Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and senatorial candidate Bong Go seeks to expand the coverage of the country’s irrigation system to mitigate the effects of the dry spell which affects the county periodically.

Go raised the idea as the Department of Agriculture said it is assisting some 138,000 farmers facing a drought due to the El Niño phenomenon that has already caused some P5 billion in agricultural losses in about 149,000 hectares of farm lands in various parts of the country.

May drought man o wala kailangan natin palawakin ang nasasakupan ng irrigation system lalong-lalo na po sa threat areas,” Go said in a radio interview. The former SAP has identified agriculture as one of the priorities under his legislative agenda.

He said that while President Rodrigo Duterte had already signed into law the Free Irrigation Act, many farmers would not benefit from it unless the government could provide water to all the irrigable lands.

In addition, Go said government should also ensure adequate water supply that could be tapped during the dry season not only for household use but also for farmlands.

Kung papalarin po sa Senado, ang irrigation system at water supply ang isa sa mga tututukan ko,” he said.

Likewise, Go called for additional measures to mitigate the suffering of the farmers affected by the dry spell.

“Bigyan natin ang mga magsasaka ng murang abono, makinarya at mga binhi kasama na diyan ang climate resistant crops,” he said.

In addition, Go called for improved access of El Niño affected farmers to low-interest credits, by streamlining the loan process.

“Improve access of El Niño affected farmers to low-interest credits.”

“Pagbutihan po natin ang pautang ng gobyerno sa kanila. Simplehan ang pautang at mababang interes para iwas po sila sa 5-6,” he said.

However, Go also allayed the fears of the farmers affected by the drought, saying the DA is already on top of the situation to provide them with assistance.

Ang sabi nila na magkakaroon ng expected drought from April to June 2019 with 22 provinces na ine-expect nila. Sa ngayon po ang Department of Agriculture has ready measures to counter possible adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon,” he said.

“The Department of Agriculture has ready measures to counter possible adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon.”

According to the DA, the state-run Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. has already released almost P100 million in insurance payment to affected farmers. Likewise, the DA said farmers may take a P25,000 loan from the government that is payable within three years with no collateral and interest.

Mahal po ni Pangulong Duterte ang ating mga magsasaka kaya gagawin ng kanyang administrasyon lahat ng paraan para maibsan ang kanilang paghihirap,” Go said.

He has also proposed to provide free business and skills trainings to farmers, fisherfolk and their families to further increase their income. He also seeks to establish a national Farmers’ and Fishers’ Pension Fund to provide financial security to farmers and fishers who are too old to work.

Hindi po ako politiko kaya ayokong mangako. Hintayin nyo na lang po ang serbisyong tatak-Duterte. Wala po kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino,” Go stressed.

Apart from agriculture, his legislative agenda include programs for education, housing, anti-illegal drugs and criminality, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, anti-corruption, localized peace talks, barangay welfare, creation of a Department of OFW, and improved benefits for senior citizens.


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