The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has commended the Department of Agriculture (DA) for supporting farmers and fisherfolk who were affected by typhoons “Rolly” and “Quinta” and allocating P1 billion in assistance through its Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
The fund is intended to cover the losses incurred by the farmers and fisherfolks. The DA also has a quick response fund amounting to P400 million which can be availed of when they submit damage reports detailing the destruction of their crops, livestock, and equipment.
The DA also offered to provide agricultural workers a loan of up to P25,000 through its Survival and Recovery (SURE) program. The loan has zero interest and no collateral and payable in 10 years.
CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia commended the government’s efforts to assist farmers and fisherfolk after the onslaught of the typhoons.
“In times of calamities, farmers and fisherfolks incur devastating losses that mire them in debts and cyclical poverty,” she said. “The agriculture sector ensures food security for the country but they are often in a state of insecurity due to oppressive systems compounded by the onslaught of numerous typhoons.”
Other commendable efforts of the DA include the provision of seeds to affected farmers, distribution of medicines and biologics for the livestock and poultry industry, provision of small ruminants and native chickens to those heavily affected by the calamity, and the preparations being done to distribute some 10 million pieces of tilapia and milkfish fingerlings as well as fishing gears and paraphernalia for the fisheries sector.
“The provision of financial assistance, aid, and other forms of support for our farmers and fisherfolks are important in their fast recovery. In the long view, it can also help curb systemic problems in agriculture towards preventing intergenerational poverty among small farmers and fisherfolk,” De Guia said.
The CHR is hopeful that all support and aid given by the government be dealt with utmost promptness, diligence, and transparency so that farmers and fisherfolk have a better chance to recover and sustain their livelihood.
“As an agricultural country, investing and prioritizing the rights and dignity of this sector is important to the recovery of the community and will redound to the benefit of all,” she said.