“Farmers in the region were the most hit by typhoon Pedring, houses of our members in Nueva Ecija were swept away and their crops totally destroyed, fisherfolk communities in Hagonoy, Bulacan and nearby towns were also submerged. They have reported that relief or support from the government has been measly if not inexistent in their areas,” Joseph Canlas said, AMGL chairperson.
AMGL said that based on the government data, the region suffered about 80% of the total damages typhoon Pedring caused, amounting to about P7.09 billion. On agriculture alone, crops and livestock, the region suffered value losses of P7.04 billion which is also 80% to the country’s total damages.
“This billions of pesos of losses in agriculture are the potential income of farmers but now they are lost and they would not be able to pay their loans. By this problem alone, they would be compelled to pawn or sell their lands just to pay up these loans and the government is ‘missing in action,’” Canlas said.
The group added that typhoon Pedring affected about 1.8 million people (68% of the country’s total) in Central Luzon were affected by typhoon Pedring, resulted 30 dead (55% of the total), 11 injured and 5 missing. Bulacan and Nueva Ecija were the most affected provinces involving about 561,000 and 393,909 people, respectively.
“We have been constant casualty of typhoons, thus, we demand the Aquino government to concretely act on our predicament. He is nowhere to be found and Central Luzon farmers could not even sense him as president,” Canlas said.
The group also noted that government relief efforts that amounted to P25 million in the region is only 0.35% compared to the total value of damages caused by typhoon Pedring. Included here is the Dept. of Social Welfare and Dev’t assistance amounting to about P10 million with P2.5 million coming from the pork barrel of district congressmen. Also on the average it would only give P13.62 assistance for each affected persons or P64.67 per family.
“With all the boasting about the conditional cash transfer, Sec. Dinky Soliman’s assistance to the people of Central Luzon amounted to P5.75 per person or P27.29 per family,” said Canlas.
“Thus, to somehow alleviate the effects of the typhoon, we demand that the government should implement a moratorium on the payment of the farmers’ loans as obviously they are not incapable of paying up this season, the Dept. of Agriculture to subsidize 50% to 100% of the value of the crops lost to farmers and the immediate assistance of P50,000 for those houses totally and partially destroyed,” Canlas said.
“These are relatively little things but somehow would make an effect to the farmers and enable them to rebuild their lives. We emphasize the moratorium on loan payments as this is the usual means of landlords and usurers to grab away lands from the farmers,” he added.
The group challenged the Aquino government to implement the immediate assistance as it is his obligation as president to uplift the people’s welfare in times of disaster.
“As he could donate $1 million to Japan, it is only rationale that he should immediately do too to his countrymen,” Canlas said. #