The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) urged the Department of Agriculture to use its P1 billion quick response fund to aid farmers and fisherfolk affected by Taal volcanic eruption instead of cash loans.
“The ash fall has damaged farmers’ crops and livestock. The loss of their sources of livelihood has left the affected families especially the peasant women anxious and distressed. Kagyat na tulong ang kailangan nila, hindi pautang. The government should provide immediate relief and compensation for farmers and fisherfolk,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.
The group issued the statement following DA Secretary William Dar’s announcement that affected farmers and fishers may avail a P25, 000 loans with zero interest payable for 3 years under the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program.
Soriano added that the government should lay down a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation program to ensure that farmers and fisherfolk will get all the support they need to recover from their losses.
Based on reports by the Department of Agriculture, damages to crops and livestock due to Taal eruption have reached P74.55 million affecting 752 hectares and 102 animal head.
The DA also noted that 6,000 fish cages could be damaged and projected a production loss reaching 15,033 metric tons as fish kill is expected in Taal Lake due to high sulfur content following the eruption.
Latest situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported a total of 6,891 families or 30,423 persons affected in Batangas and Cavite. 4,175 families or 18,187 persons are taking temporary shelter in 118 evacuation centers.
“We are calling on various government agencies to ensure the immediate delivery of relief assistance to the families, especially the farmers and fisherfolk mostly affected by the calamity. We also appeal to various sectors, civil society organizations, personalities and individuals to help Batangas and Cavite farmers and fisherfolk,” Soriano ended. ###