Angara asks gov’t to urgently help El Niño-stricken farmers
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday called for government’s immediate assistance to farmers heavily affected by the prevailing El Niño phenomenon.
According to Angara, help should reach small-scale farmers by “flooding areas hit by drought with assistance.”
“Our farmers badly need food and alternative sources of income to compensate for the huge losses they incurred due to this ongoing drought,” Angara said.
“Nakalulungkot na ang pinakaapektado ng matinding tagtuyot ay ang mga magsasaka. Lumalabas na kung sino pa ang nagpapakain sa atin ay siya pang walang makain (It is saddening that the most affected by intense dry spell are famers. Turns out that those who are feeding us are the ones who have nothing to eat),” he added.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Wednesday said the agriculture sector has so far lost P2.86 billion to El Niño.
According to NDRRMC’s report, among the hardest-hit regions are Soccsksargen with over P800 million, and Bicol with over P790 million. Soccsksargen and Mimaropa, among others, have already been placed under a state of calamity because of the dry spell.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) predicted that El Niño will last until end of May or June.
Angara said government should extend its assistance to affected farmers “in a timely manner” so a repeat of the Kidapawan crisis in 2016 will be avoided.
To recall, farmers from Kidapawan resorted to a protest rally that year to demand food aid and subsidies from the government. The protest ended with three farmers dead and over a hundred others injured. /kga
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