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PBBM extends P200-M to El Niño hit farmers, fishers

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY --- President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. visited Albay recently to personally hand over aid to farmers and fishermen affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Around 5,000 people from Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Masbate received assistance through the Presidential Assistance to Farmers and Fisherfolk.

“Narito po ako ngayon kasama ang ilang ahensya ng pamahalaan upang kumustahin kayo at personal na maghatid ng serbisyo at ng tulong (I am here today with some government agencies to say hello and personally deliver service and help),” Marcos said during his speech at the distribution of presidential aid at the Albay Astrodome.

The President said the Department of Agriculture and Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration reported nearly 19,000 families from 300 barangays who bore the brunt of the dry spell in Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

“Karamihan po sa mga lubhang naapektuhan nito ay ang mga nagtanim ng palay at mais na talagang nahirapan nang isalba ang mga nasirang pananim (Most of those who were severely affected by this dry spell were those who planted rice and corn who really had a hard time saving the damaged crops),” he said.

The Office of the President has allocated over P100 million in cash assistance for the affected provinces. The assistance will be distributed by the provincial government to farmers, fishers, and families who have been impacted by the drought resulting from El Niño.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributed P10,000 in cash aid to 5,000 beneficiaries, totaling P50 million, under the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program.

The Department of Agriculture provided agricultural inputs and supplies to 188 beneficiaries totaling nearly P182 million. The intervention included hybrid rice and corn seeds, fertilizers, machinery, and livelihood programs.

Hesel Sedullo, 56, a farmer-beneficiary from Taguytoy, Camalig Albay, expressed his gratitude for the financial assistance provided by the President after his farm suffered losses due to the El Niño.

Said he: “I am thankful to PBBM for the financial assistance. The El Niño has greatly affected our harvest. That’s our only source of livelihood, so this cash assistance is a big help for our everyday needs.”

Glen Napay, another farmer from barangay Taguytoy, also thanked the President for the cash assistance, saying, “almost all of our crops dried up, so we have no harvest. This cash assistance is a big help to my family.”

Ariel Loca, 51, of barangay Mi-isi in the municipality of Daraga, expressed how the cash assistance would be crucial for him to purchase fertilizer for his farm.

“This is important to us since we were affected by El Niño. We have domestic animals and vegetables, but they dried up, including the grass eaten by the animals. We will use this as capital in buying fertilizer,” Loca explained.

In addition, 30 fishermen in Albay received fisheries equipment worth P840,000 from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. This equipment included 10 units of 18-foot fiber fishing boats with complete accessories and 7.5HP gasoline engines, along with 20 units of bottom set gill nets. (With reports from Raiza Lucido/PIA5/Albay)

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. visited Albay recently to personally hand over aid to farmers and fishermen affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon.


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