Yolanda-hit farmers get P1-B aid

Posted at 04/21/14 11:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.05 billion for various projects to help farmers recover from super typhoon "Yolanda."

In a statement, the DBM said it released the funds to the Department of Agriculture to support projects under the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) program.

The funds, which were sourced from the FY 2013 Supplemental Appropriations, would allow the DA to implement clearing and desilting operations in Yolanda-stricken regions, as well as provide farm tools, seeds, tractors, fertilizers, and farm machinery fuel subsidies to farmers in Regions IV-B (MIMAROPA), V (Bicol Region), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), and IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).

Of the P1 billion, P288.3 million will be used for clearing operations; P257.7 million for distribution of fertilizers; P206 million for fuel subsidy for farm machinery; and P154 million for provision of tractors.

Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad said several communities, particularly farmers, in Visayas and Mindanao are still recovering from "Yolanda".

"The administration and affected local governments are thus working together to ensure that we make a good deal of progress in our post-calamity efforts in Yolanda-stricken areas. With the fund release, the DA can give our farmers the help they need in recouping their losses and successfully rebuilding their livelihoods," he said.

As of March 2014, the DA said damages to the agriculture sector amounted to P31.1 billion. This included production losses of P27.07 billion in crops, fisheries, and livestock, as well as infrastructure losses—including irrigation systems and facilities—of P4.06 billion.

To date, the DBM has released a total of P5.21 billion for the agriculture component of the rehabilitation program.

As of March 10, DBM reported that P26 billion has already been mobilized for post-disaster projects and activities in areas affected by the super typhoon.