Aquino OKs aid for banana farmersBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III has approved in principle an assistance program for banana farmers affected by stricter measures imposed by China on the country’s banana exports in the wake of a standoff over Scarborough Shoal, which both countries claim.
Ricky Carandang, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said Mr. Aquino met with members of the Cabinet’s economic cluster on Thursday and ordered that details of the program be finalized.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters the assistance program was the government’s short-term response to the situation and that the long-term plan was to find new markets.
“The exports in China only constitute 30 percent. (For the) 70 percent, we are doing well,” he said.
Lacierda said the President had asked his economic team “to come up with a definitive package assistance plan by next week.”