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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Call calamity state, Mindoro urged

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday mobilized a rapid response team to deliver urgent aid to Mindoro farmers and fisherfolk affected by the dry spell.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. instructed the National Food Authority (NFA) to ensure distribution of rice stocks to affected populations in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The initiative underscores the government’s commitment to ensure food security and support the livelihood of those impacted by the drought.

Due to the worsening situation, Tiu Laurel appealed to local government units (LGUs) across Mindoro to officially declare a state of calamity, if warranted.

A calamity declaration would enable DA to extend comprehensive assistance to affected communities, including financial aid, agricultural inputs like crop seeds, and livestock.

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The DA’s Survival and Recovery (SURE) aid program offers up to P25,000 of interest-free loan for three years to eligible farmers and fisherfolk, while the Quick Response Fund (QRF) provides essential farm inputs.

Moreover, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) is prepared to issue insurance claims of up to P25,000 for registered agricultural workers.

The DA may also deploy solar-powered irrigation systems to irrigate agricultural lands and help farmers recover quickly.

Looc Mayor Marlon dela Torre reported significant losses in agriculture, with rice, corn, and other crops completely devastated by severe water shortages attributable to El Niño.

The local fishing community is also in need of governmental intervention, he added.

The DA received reports from its regional office in MIMAROPA that other towns in both Occidental and Oriental Mindoro are also suffering from El Niño-induced drought.

The DA has called on all levels of local government to help the government identify the most critically-affected areas to expedite the delivery of essential services and support.

“I urge our mayors, governors, and other local government officials to engage with national government agencies promptly to alleviate the hardships faced by our citizens, particularly the vulnerable farmers and fisherfolk,” he said.

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