DA, DTI, DSWD urged: Set price freeze, ensure aid in areas under state of calamity
MANILA, Philippines — Government agencies were prodded Thursday to impose a price freeze and make sure appropriate assistance would be delivered in areas under a state of calamity due to Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae).
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) must strictly enforce the price freeze because it has always been violated in markets.
As of November 3, local governments in 292 cities and municipalities across the country have declared a state of calamity following the onslaught of Paeng.
“Bagamat awtomatiko sa Price Act ang price freeze sa mga pangunahing bilihin, hindi ito nasusunod sa mga pamilihan at palengke (Although a price freeze on basic commodities is automatic under the Price Act, it is not being followed in the market),” the group claimed.
KMP chair Danilo Ramos added that consumers can no longer bear new price hikes especially since the government has yet to give enough aid.
The KMP then urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide aid promptly to Paeng-affected villages, criticizing the absence of assistance to farmers and fishers.
“Hindi nasasapatan ang KMP sa suportang ibinibigay ng DA sa mga magsasaka at mangingisdang nasalanta ng bagyo (KMP is not satisfied with the support being given by the DA to farmers and fisher folks who are devastated by the storm),” it said.
The DA currently distributes rice, corn, assorted vegetable seeds, and fingerlings to help distressed farmers and fishers recover. It also accommodates loans up to P25,000 that will be payable in three years at zero percent interest through its survival and recovery loan program.
On top of this, the DA said its quick response fund would be utilized to rehabilitate Paeng-hit communities.
But Ramos revived the KMP’s call for the government to provide a P15,000 production subsidy to farmers and fishers.
“Dapat ikonsidera na ng DA at ng Kongreso ang pagbibigay nito. Walang tigil ang mga kalamidad at patong-patong na ang utang ng mga magsasaka. Nakahanda ang grupo na makipagdayalogo sa DA kaugnay sa mga agarang panawagan ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” he added.
(The DA and Congress should consider giving this since calamities hit the country nonstop, and farmers’ debt is piling up. The group is ready to dialogue with the DA for this immediate appeal for the sake of our farmers and fishers.)
In its November 3 report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Paeng had ravaged around 69,260 hectares of fields, affecting 59,381 farmers and fisherfolk.
It added that agricultural losses due to Paeng also rose to at least P2.441 billion.
Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief efforts to the families affected by Typhoon Paeng. Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No.: 007960018860 and through Maya