Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today said the Department of Agriculture should not let politics get in the way of assisting farmers in areas hit by the El Nino weather phenomenon even as he urged the agency to go full blast in this effort.
Marcos said the DA must put to good use the P2.1 billon specially earmarked assist farmers affected by the drought conditions caused by El Nino and spur agricultural production in the first quarter of 2016.
“With the onset of the political season the DA must take special care to ensure that mitigation efforts for El Nino must be directed to those who really need it most and not just because some politician requested to divert the assistance programs in their areas,” said Marcos.
Marcos noted that according to PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) around 40 percent of the country or 32 provinces are expected to suffer the brunt of El Nino before the country’s weather condition returns to normal by mid-2016.
“A lot of farmers and their families in the provinces affected by El Nino are going to suffer if the DA won’t be able to deliver on its promise,” said Marcos, noting 70 percent of the country’s poor belong to the agricultural sector.
Palay and corn farms suffered the most from the long dry spell and recent typhoons and according to the DA production in 2015 declined by 3.78 percent and 6.04 percent, respectively.
According to the DA it has put up a plan to lessen the impact of El Nino. Among other, the DA said it coordinated with the National Irrigation Administration for better management of water in irrigated areas.
Likewise, the DA said they have embarked on small-scale irrigation projects and construction of rainwater harvesting and drainage facilities for rain-fed agricultural lands.
In addition the DA said they have been distributing drought-resistant palay and corn seed and assisted farmers in adjustment of cropping season.
“The plan looks good but the real test is in the implementation. Let’s help those who really need it and give them what they really need most,” he stressed.