Sen. Lapid pushes passage of bill to build a climate-resilient Philippine agriculture

Published November 15, 2020, 4:51 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid has sought the passage of a bill that seeks to ensure a climate-resilient Philippine agriculture industry by enhancing farmers’ adaptability to climate change events and adverse weather conditions.

Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid (MANILA BULLETIN FILE)

In filing Senate Bill No. 1912 or the bill that proposes to institutionalize the use of crop climate calendars to equip Filipino farmers for climate-sensitive decision-making, Lapid said it is crucial to provide farmers access to localized weather and climate information.

With almost 20 typhoons and storms visiting the country every year, the senator said the damage caused by hostile weather conditions has cost billions of pesos every year especially in the agriculture sector.

Lapid said it is time that farmers are empowered to have access to innovative ideas and technologies to protect their livelihood.

Just recently, typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, he noted, inflicted P10-billion worth of damage to Philippine agriculture sector with reportedly 150,000 farmers affected.

“Kaya panahon na para kumilos ang ating gobyerno para tulungan ang sektor ng agrikultura at siguruhing kaya nitong makasabay sa mga hamon ng climate change gaya ng mga bagyo (That’s why it’s high time for the government to move and help the agriculture sector, and ensure that it can cope and rise to the challenge of climate change),” Lapid said in a statement.

Under this measure, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will institutionalize the use of crop climate calendars throughout the Philippines.

A crop climate calendar is defined as “a visual tool that presents the phenology and cultivation practices of a crop against the timeline of the cropping season, containing information on the weather and climate states that occur in the locality and the risks faced by the crop.”

Under the bill, these crop climate calendars will be distributed free-of-charge. Lapid also said the measure mandates the DA to equip all famers and farmers’ organizations in the formulation, use, and interpretation of crop climate calendars that are tailor-made for each specific locality.

The bill also seeks to provide regular appropriate training and capacity-building for farmers and farmers’ organizations in the practice of climate sensitive decision-making, and the use of relevant tools and applications.

“Sa ilalim ng ating panukalang batas, inaatasan din natin ang DA na bumuo ng malinaw at maayos na mga briefer at materyal gaya ng charts, tables at diagrams na madaling maintindihan ng ating mga magsasaka (This bill mandates the DA to form a clear and efficient briefer and material like charts, tables, and diagrams that is easily understandable for our farmers),” he said.

“Malaki ang maitutulong ng mga ito para sa matalinong pagdedesisiyon kung kailan ang tamang panahon ng pagtatanim at pag-aani. Malaking bagay din ito para makaiwas na masayang ang kanilang pananim sa tuwing hahagupit ang mga bagyo (It will greatly help them form intelligent decisions when they need to sow and harvest. This will also help them avoid wasting their crops during typhoons),” Lapid explained.

He added that Senate Bill No. 1912 also mandates the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to provide regular and up-to-date localized weather and climate information to city, municipal, and provincial agriculturist’s offices, and directly to the farmers themselves through all available means of communication and information dissemination.

He said this information must be written in simple English, Filipino, and other regional language or dialect as necessary, and must be presented in easily understandable form.