• By The Financial District


The Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has allotted P592,432,000 as indemnification fund for 32,761 Bicol farmers, whose insured crops were damaged by super typhoon “Rolly.”

Agriculture Secretary William Dar made the announcement during a simple program in Polangui, Albay, where he led the distribution of P90-million worth of various assistance to affected farmers and fishers. Albay is one of the hard-hit provinces in Bicol, where “Rolly” wrought considerable damage.

The assistance included seeds of hybrid rice, corn and assorted vegetables, urea fertilizer, farm implements, and fishing gear and paraphernalia.

The PCIC-insured farmers and fishers in Bicol region will also receive insurance claims ranging from P10,000 to P15,000 for their crops, farm equipment, fishing boats, and other equipment damaged by the vicious storm.

Dar added that affected farmers and fishers can also avail of an emergency and rehabilitation loan worth P25,000 from the DA’s Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC), under its Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program. The DA-ACPC has allotted an initial P100M for Bicol under its Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program. The loan is non-collateral, has zero interest, and payable in 10 years.

Initial estimates of agri-fishery damage in Bicol amount to P2.2 billion, said DA Bicol Regional Director Rodel Tornilla in his report to Secretary Dar, during the small-scale program at a farmers’ multi-purpose cooperative rice processing center, attended by about 200 farmers, local and national government officials, and DA family officials and staff.

Tornilla said Albay suffered an initial damage worth P885 M, including P140-M worth of irrigation systems and P66-M worth of fisheries.

During the visit,  Dar met with Albay Governor Al Francis Bicharra, Albay Representative Fernando Cabredo, Polangui Mayor Andy Mariscotes, Oas Mayor Domingo Escoto, Jr., Albay Board Members Dante Arandia and Eva Ribayan, and Albay Provincial Agriculturist Cheryll Rebeta.

During the program,  Dar had a dialogue with farmer-leaders, who asked for clarifications on the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), use of excess tariffs on imported rice, Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), repair and replacement of defective farm machinery, and palay procurement and buffer stocking of the DA’s National Food Authority (NFA).

He assured them of continuous support of President Roa Duterte through the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

The program was also attended by other farmer-leaders and local officials from nearby towns of Lisbon, Guinobatan, and Oas.

Meanwhile, in a report to Secretary Dar, NFA Administrator Judy Dansal said that as of October 31, 2020, the agency has bought since January a total of 606,883 50-kg bags of palay, of which 39 percent was procured in October, benefiting thousands of individual farmers and farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs).

Dansal added that region-wide the NFA has a current inventory of 548,795 bags of palay and 124,079 bags of rice. It has issued 9,927 bags of rice to various LGUs in five provinces for typhoon Rolly relief operations.

During the visit, Dar was joined by DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan, NFA Administrator Dansal, DA Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Ocampo Reyes, Planters Products President Matt Maderazo, and DA Technical Adviser Jerry Pelayo.