Farmers, fishermen suffer more from Ulysses

Published November 13, 2020, 11:25 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Quinta and Rolly’s damage to agri sector now at P9B

Rescuers evacuate residents from their flooded homes after Typhoon Vamco hit, in Marikina City, suburban Manila on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

Thousands of farmers and fishermen in Quezon province and Bicol region are reeling from further losses after another typhoon, Ulysses, hit the country.

This, while the combined damage of Typhoon Quinta and Super Typhoon Rolly to the farm sector already rose to nearly P9 billion.

Based on the latest data from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), damage and losses in the farm sector have been reported in Regions 3, 4-A, and CAR due to Typhoon Ulysses, which made landfall in Quezon on Thursday.

So far, the number of affected farmers and fishermen stood at 2,839, while 17,845 hectares of agricultural areas were damaged.

Volume of production loss is at 7,999 metric tons (MT), which is estimated to worth P104 million. . Affected commodities include rice, corn, and high value crops.

The DA said it is now in close coordination with concerned national government agencies, local government units, and other DRRM-related offices to continuously assess the impact of Ulysses to the agriculture sector.

The agency is also now preparing available resources for interventions and assistance.

Available interventions at DA include a total of 104,544 bags of rice seeds; 10,223 bags of corn seeds, and 1,149 kilograms of assorted vegetables; drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry; loan; and an indemnification fund from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

On Thursday, fisherfolks in Southern Tagalog, who were hit by Ulysses and other strong typhoons over the last few weeks, pleaded for speedy government assistance.

In a statement, the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) called on the national and local government to immediately assist fishing families affected and displaced by Ulysses.

According to the group, these fishing and coastal families were also badly affected by the previous typhoons that hit the country over the last few weeks, including Pepito, Quinta, and Rolly.

“We appeal for a speedy government support in a form of economic aid and livelihood subsidy,” Ronnel Arambulo, PAMALAKAYA-Southern Tagalog Spokesperson said on Thursday.

Arambulo, who hails from Rizal province, said that fisherfolk in the Southern Tagalog region are unable to return to normal fishing production for more than a month now due to the successive typhoons that hit the archipelago.

Coastal residents from Laguna de Bay in Binangonan, Rizal were also recently evacuated due to possible flooding.

“Aside from relief packs containing basic necessities, PPEs [personal protective equipment] along with health services should be provided to the evacuees to protect them against any possible virus disease that could worsen their situation,” Arambulo said.

As of Friday, the combined amount of damage and losses that the farm sector incurred from Quinta and Rolly already stood at P8.46 billion, with as many as 106,540 farmers and fisherfolk affected.  

According to DA, 223,772 hectares of agricultural areas in CAR, Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA were also affected, while production loss stood at 326,566 MT, with rice, corn, abaca, coconut, fisheries, and livestock as the most affected agricultural crops.