Farmers condemn government for zero support during El Niño

This article is available in Pilipino

Affected farmers, fishermen and farm workers are receiving little or no aid during El Niño. This is the result of investigations conducted by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in different parts of the country.

In Negros Occidental, farmers will receive aid only after El Niño. They found this out after a dialogue with the local office of the Department of Agriculture on March 20. The DA claims it has no provision or guidelines for any cash assistance and rice aid for farmers, fishermen and farm workers who are gravely affected by drought. The DA only promised to replace the seedlings, fertilizers and livestock of the affected farmers.

According to the KMP national office, farmers in Isabela and Bicol are suffering from the same fate. “(They) get very little, not even a sound from the government,” the group expressed in their statement on March 25. This is also the report of farmers in the provinces of CALABARZON.

“No aid comes to farmers despite grand pronouncements from the Task Force El Niño, DA and Secretary Francis Tiu-Laurel that the government has already given ₱379.06 million in aid for farmers and fishermen affected by El Niño,” KMP says. This deception adds to the endless suffering of the farmers, according to the group’s secretary general, Ronnie Manalo.

The DA boasted it will provide PHP500 million credit assistance to farmers and fishermen, Php1.8 billion insurance claims — or at least PHP25,000 credit assistance to each affected farmer and fisherman and a maximum PHP20,000 insurance claim.

“These credit assistance and insurance claims can only be accessed by farmers and fishermen who are included in the RSBSA or government registry,” according to the KMP. “The DA is releasing assistance to the victims of El Niño with previously funded programs such as the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance and fuel subsidy programs. But it appears that there is no assistance or aid for the victims of El Niño, especially farmers and fishermen.”

AB: Farmers condemn government for zero support during El Niño