By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Farmers and fishermen hit by Typhoon “Ambo,” the first storm to make a landfall in the Philippines, are seeking immediate assistance from the Philippine government.
In a statement, the national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has called on the government to immediately help families affected and displaced by Typhoon Ambo, which brought moderate to heavy rains in Bicol, Samar, and Southern Tagalog regions.
“Fisherfolk and farmer families were forced to vacate communities and seek shelter in evacuation areas. Local and national governments must be prepared in providing assistance to the affected families to ensure that the natural calamity will not worsen the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said.
The government was also urged to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and multivitamins to the affected families as part of health safety measures especially that they are exposed to risky evacuation centers.
“We call for a speedy government support in a form of economic subsidy and relief aid. Aside from relief goods containing basic necessities, the evacuees must also be provided with PPEs and adequate health services to protect them against any possible virus disease,” said Hicap.
For his part, Agriculture Secretary William Dar has already instructed all the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Regional Executive Directors and operating units that will affected by Typhoon Ambo to exercise and perform all standard operating procedure institutionalized during typhoons like this.
“They are to immediately record and monitor all effects including damages to facilitate the use of the quick respond fund during and immediately after the typhoon,” Dar said.
Dar also said that overall, the typhoon will not incur significant damage to the agriculture sector since most farmers in the affected provinces have already harvested their crops.
Based on a data from the DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRM), Ambo will affect rice and corn areas, particularly those under reproductive and maturity stages.