By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe on Thursday urged local government units (LGUs) that are severely hit by the dry spell to implement cash-for-work program as a temporary relief for farmers.
Poe stressed the role of LGUs in extending assistance to farmers whose livelihood are affected due to the prevailing El Niño.
“Dapat magbigay ng cash-for-work sa panahon na naghihintay ang ating mga magsasaka ng pagkukunan ng kita. Puwede silang magkaroon ng trabaho mula sa local government sa tulong na rin ng national government,” Poe said in an interview over a local radio in Quezon province
The reelectioist senator made the call after the Department of Agriculture reported crop damage amounting to P1.3 billion despite a “weak” El Niño, affecting 84,932 farmers and fisherfolks nationwide.
Several provinces have declared a state of calamity due to the effects of the dry spell which was expected to worsen in the coming weeks.
Poe said the calamity fund of LGUs may not be able to sufficiently sustain farmers’ livelihood.
“May calamity fund ang bawat LGU kaya lang hindi sapat at hindi naman kasya sa lahat ng magsasaka na mawawalan ng ani,” Poe added.
The cash-for-work program, Poe said, could augment the government’s existing intervention programs for El Niño such as farmers’ loans, seed and fertilizer assistance, cloud seeding and crop insurance.
She said LGUs must also coordinate with concerned state agencies to ensure that irrigation systems reach farmlands.