A party-list representing the agriculture sector called on government to immediately release funds for the relief of farmers affected by Typhoon ‘Ompong’ which hit the country last week.
“We hope that the release of calamity funds will be rushed particularly in the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Ompong like Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, and Cordillera regions,” Benjie Martinez, secretary-general of AGRI Party-list, said.
Based on initial official estimates, the country lost a total of 250,730 tonnes of paddy rice due to the strong typhoon, exceeding a worst-case forecast by 60 percent.
Martinez said it is crucial that aid be extended soon to the affected farmers.
“We have to make sure that these regions are able to recover enough and regain the capability to replant and process agricultural products,” he added.
“We have to make sure that these regions are able to recover enough and regain the capability to replant and process agricultural products.”
Martinez stressed that with Cagayan Valley being the country’s top producer of corn and second in palay, the country’s food security is at stake.
Besides the provision of grains, farm facilities should be rebuilt and infrastructure like roads and irrigation should be repaired, he also said.
Martinez also reiterated his previous call for Senate to pass a bill expanding insurance coverage for farmers and fisherfolk—a measure that if passed will benefit 5.5 million small-hold farms and 1.7 million fishermen who are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather.
The Lower House approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 6923, or “An Act Strengthening the PCIC,” repealing Presidential Decree 1467, which created the government-owned and controlled corporation attached to the Department of Agriculture, earlier this year.
The party-list’s representatives, Delphine Gan-Lee and Orestes T. Salon, are among the principal authors of HB No. 6923.
The bill, if approved, will allot between P5 billion and P10 billion in crop insurance to guarantee the immediate assistance of farmers affected by calamities despite the absence of the so-called total wipe-out situation.
AGRI Party-list pushed for the inclusion of life and accident term insurance for farmers and fisherfolk, which was eventually included in the approved bill under Section 3, which provides for the expanded purposes and coverage of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.
“With about 20 typhoons entering the country each year, we have to implement measures that protect our farmers and fisherfolk from loss of output due to natural calamities,” said Martinez.
“With about 20 typhoons entering the country each year, we have to implement measures that protect our farmers and fisherfolk from loss of output due to natural calamities.”