Compensation for cyclone-stricken farmers, fishers pressed anew

A peasant group on Sunday, Oct. 2, once again called on the national government to provide much-needed compensation to cyclone-affected farmers and fishermen.

Brgy. Salangan in San Miguel, Bulacan still submerged in flood on Sept. 26, 2022 after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

Assessments as of Friday, Sept. 30, showed that the onslaught of tropical cyclone Karding affected about 91,944 farmers and fisherfolk with a combined volume of production loss at 117,663 metric tons. Most of the damaged farmlands were located in Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Bicol Region, and Western Visayas with a whopping loss of 2.02 billion according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

This severe loss prompted peasant and fisherfolk groups to demand compensation from the administration.

“ pressing for indemnification of typhoon-stricken farmers and a P15,000 production subsidy for farmers and fisherfolk,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in a press statement on Sunday.

Apart from these, KMP added that there are “existing laws” mandated to assist farmers in distress, urging the Congress to ensure that these laws are being implemented.

Magna Carta for Small Farmers, the Price Act of 1992, and the Sagip Saka Act

“Under the Magna Carta of Small Farmers Act, the DA is mandated to establish a price support system and set farmgate prices for certain agricultural products, especially rice and corn,” said KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos.

Meanwhile, Ramos also underscored that Section 9 of the Republic Act 7581 or Price Act, enables the establishment of a mechanism that will “readily protect consumers from inadequate supply and unreasonable price increase” in the time of calamities or emergencies.

In augmenting the country’s rice buffer stock, KMP said the administration should seek the help and procure supply from small farmers in northern Luzon, Visayas, as well as Mindanao.

“DA and National Food Authority (NFA) can procure more from rice farmers who are not as severely affected by Karding as Central Luzon rice farmers,” Ramos added.

The Republic Act 11321 or the Sagip Saka Act, on the other hand, aims to pave the way for “sustainable modern agriculture and food security” by helping agricultural and fishing communities achieve their full potential.

These three laws, according to Ramos, have specified the actions that the DA should carry out and implement to help alleviate the burden of Filipino farmers and fishermen.