ASSISTANCE. Agriculture Secretary William Dar (center) hands over to Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando the certificate of award amounting to PHP175.423 million worth of seeds and fertilizers for Bulakenyo farmers. Also in photo were DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes (extreme left), DA, Regional Director Crispulo Bautista (second to the left), and Provincial Agriculturist Ma. Gloria SF. Carrillo, (extreme right) (Photo by Manny Balbin)
CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan – Agriculture Secretary William Dar awarded on Friday some PHP175.423 million worth of seeds and fertilizers as assistance to farmers in the province heavily affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
The seeds and fertilizers aid include 15,000 bags of hybrid rice seeds worth PHP67 million; 15,100 bags of Rice Competitiveness and Enhancement Fund (RCEF) certified seeds worth PHP22.95 million; 2,918 bags of expanded inbred certified seeds worth PHP4.4 million; 45,000 bags of fertilizers for hybrid rice worth PHP45 million; 30,200 bags of fertilizer for RCEF worth PHP30.2 million; and 5,836 bags of fertilizer for expanded inbred rice amounting to PHP5.84 million.
“We are giving the province these assistance pero posible pa itong madagdagan depende sa magiging resulta ng assessment sa mga susunod na araw (but there is a possibility to increase it depending on the outcome of the assessment in the coming days),” Dar said during his dialogue with farmer leaders and press briefing held at Balagtas Hall in Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.
Dar personally visited and witnessed how “Ulysses” battered the agricultural sector here wherein an ocular inspection with Governor Daniel Fernando was held in Pulilan, town.
This was after his personal visit to some affected farmlands specifically in the Pulilan-Baliuag Bypass Road area, together with Fernando, DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes, DA Regional Director Crispulo Bautista, Mayor Maria Rosario Ochoa-Montejo, Provincial Agriculturist Ma. Gloria SF. Carrillo, municipal agriculturists, and farmer leaders.
Dar and Fernando also proceeded to the Command Center of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) and continued to oversee the status of other agricultural lands.
“Aside from this, may ayuda rin tayo, maagang pamaskong handog na PHP5,000 cash sa lahat ng rice farmers na nagsasaka ng isang ektarya pababa, gayundin sa mga non-rice farmers, ito ‘yung mga nagtatanim ng mais, niyog, tubo at mga mangingisda mula sa Bayanihan 2 (We also have assistance, early Christmas offering of PHP5,000 cash to all rice farmers who till land one hectare down, as well as to non-rice farmers, these are the ones who grow corn, coconut, sugarcane and fishermen from Bayanihan 2),” Dar said.
He said farmers can still avail of the PHP25,000 loan with zero interest and payable in 10 years.
Gigi Carilio, head of the Provincial Agriculture Office, said the affected rice land areas in the province is about 12,000 hectares, all under the reproductive and maturity stage.
These rice lands are located in the north zone part of Bulacan in the first and second districts.
The farmers in the south zone were not affected by the typhoon as they were unable to plant due to non-water supply from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
More than 1,000 hectares of vegetable farms were also affected mostly from the towns of San Ildefonso, San Miguel, and San Rafael.
Fernando said that as of Friday afternoon, they were still gathering the data and figures from every municipality and city for the official total amount of damages in the agriculture industry.
Meanwhile, Dar assured the Filipino people of enough rice supply for the next three months, thus there is no need to worry of rice shortage.
“We will give more aid in many ways, nandyan ang ating gobyerno na handang tumulong at magbigay pag-asa (the government is there ready to help and give hope). Let us be one and united sa pagbangon (to recover),” Dar said.
He added the total worth of agriculture damage and losses left by typhoons “Pepito”, “Quinta”, “Rolly”, and “Ulysses” nationwide reached almost PHP10 billion.
However, Dar said that because of the early warning system, announcements, and collaboration with the concerned government agencies, the farming industry was able to save from damages worth PHP31 billion of agricultural crops due to early advisories.
Fernando thanked Dar for always supporting the province in these trying times.
He said the provincial government is preparing to help affected Bulakenyos not only farmers due to typhoon Ulysses.
Rowena Joson-Tiongson, head of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, said the governor immediately ordered them to provide hot meals and relief packs to all the evacuees.
They are currently planning on how to distribute relief goods to all other affected Bulakenyos in the next few days.
Fernando said that after distributing relief goods to affected Bulakenyos due to typhoons “Pepito” and “Quinta”, they only have 9,000 readily available relief goods remaining.
“Nagpahanda tayo ng karagdagan 10,000 pang relief foods at nagrequest na rin tayo ng tulong sa DSWD national para sa 200,000 Bulakenyong apektado ng bagyong Ulysses at agad naman silang tumugon (We asked to prepare an additional 10,000 relief foods and we have also requested assistance from the DSWD for 200,000 Bulakenyos affected by typhoon Ulysses and they immediately responded),” Fernando said
Based on the latest situational report from the PDRRMO, there are 4,698 families or 14,517 individuals that are currently housed in 49 evacuation centers from 20 towns and three cities in the province. (PNA)