MANILA—Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol assured that the flash floods in Northern Mindanao has not caused a huge damage to agriculture.
In a press briefing in Malacañan on Wednesday, January 18, Piñol said the flooding in Northern Mindanao did not widely affect the country’s rice and corn production.
“As indicated by the report coming from Region X, hindi naman ganoon kalawak ‘yung tinamaan na area,” Piñol said.
“While of course, we’re sad that this happened, it will not really make a huge dent on the agricultural production on the region considering that is less than a thousand hectares. We can easily recover kasi ready ‘yung interventions,” he added.
Piñol said that in Bukidnon, 147 hectares of corn were affected in four barangays in Malaybalay City; in Impasugong, Bukidnon, 2.5 hectares of corn; in Tudela, Misamis Occidental, 112 hectares of rice areas ready for harvesting were damaged; in Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, 630 hectares of rice newly transplanted and another two hectares planted with vegetables were also damaged; and in Oroquieta City, 128 hectares of rice in the tillering stage were also damaged. Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Norte have yet to report the damage.
“The region is ready with interventions. We have 6,200 bags of rice seeds available and also vegetable seeds and corn seeds,” he said.
The Agriculture chief however said that while the damage to agriculture in Northern Mindanao was not extensive, he has created a technical working group to assess the situation and come up with a plan.
“‘Pag flash floods ang tumatama sa isang lugar, there’s only one reason for that: wala ng kahoy na humahawak sa bundok at ‘yon ang dahilan kung bakit mabilis ‘yung pagbaba ng tubig,” Pinol explained.
“Ito ‘yung indication actually na nagkaroon tayo ng problema sa environment in that area,” he added.
Piñol said they are looking at deforestation and the unabated cutting down of trees in the mountains of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental as the possible cause of the flash floods.
“We are taking a look at the situation not only in the context of providing immediate intervention but also long-term solution,” he said.
The Agriculture chief, meanwhile, said the DA is planning to provide interventions for the rice farmers and the 4Ps beneficiaries.
“I am of the view that if this program is properly implemented, meaning, if instead of giving them coupons or cash, DSWD would decide to buy rice directly from the farmers in the communities where the 4Ps beneficiaries are located,” Pinol said.
“Not only would we be serving the purpose of giving rice ration to the poorest of the poor in this country, the rice farmers will also benefit from this because then they will have a ready market for their produce, which is our problem right now actually,” he said.
“Our farmers actually are organized and all that we need to do is just identify ‘yung facilities kung saan namin imi-mill and then we can extend the needed interventions,” he added.
In the same press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that the country’s economic landscape continues to show great improvement as necessary policies are being established.
“There are more banks that have expressed interest to come to the Philippines,” Abella said, adding that there are improvements in the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs as part of the tax reform measures.
Abella likewise cited the latest positive forecast of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the country’s growing economy.
“According to International Monetary Fund resident representative Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, the Philippines is expected to maintain its strong GDP (gross domestic product) growth momentum registered in 2016 into 2017 at a pace of 6.8 percent,” Abella said.
Meanwhile, Abella said President Duterte had a meeting with a group of Taipans Tuesday night.
The meeting, facilitated by Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, touched on many topics such as federalism, contractualization, job creation, tax reform, among others.
“In the words of PA Joey Concepcion, everybody walked out extremely, extremely happy,” Abella concluded.