‘WE NEED SEEDS, RICE, NOT PUMPS, FERTILIZERS’: Farmers group cry for El Niño assistance

MEMBERS of progressive group Pamanggas stage a protest rally in front of Iloilo Provincial Capitol, July 10, 2019 as they sought immediate assistance such as rice and seeds instead of water pumps and liquid fertilizer. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

A GROUP of farmers in Panay who were affected by the El Niño phenomenon demanded immediate assistance from government agencies.

In a press conference on Thursday, Lucia Capadocio, chairperson of the Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (Pamanggas), sought the help of concerned agencies to provide them with rice and seeds to rehabilitate their affected farms.

Capadocio lamented that they have been reaching out to the concerned agencies through dialogues but to no avail.

Ang ini nga kawsa halin pa April nagbalik-balik kami sa Provincial Capitol para maghiwat sang dialogoNagsulod na kami sa session sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan naghambal kami nga immediate ang kinahanglan namon dahil sa malawig nga init. Wala kami ka tanom sang mga mangunguma although nag-ulan so karon, kinahanglan namon sang bugas kag binhi,” she said.

Some 21,000 farmers were affected by the El Niño phenomenon in Panay Island, according to Capadocio.

He said they need immediate assistance of seeds and rice instead of the organic fertilizers and jetmatic pumps that will be given by the Iloilo provincial government

He added that they have staged pickets from July 10-12, 2019 in front of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol to demand and seek assistance from the provincial government.

Ang amon pangayo binhi kag bugas pero ang ila hatag liquid fertilizer and jetmatic pump. Naghiwat na kami picket sa tatlo ka adlaw pero wala man sila gihapon sabat,” she lamented.

As of now, Capadocio said they are still conducting dialogues with the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the hope that they will get their assistance.

Nagpasa na man kami listings sa DSWD and DA pero asta subong padayon kami gadialogue sa mga munisipyo pero asta subong wala gihapon,” she said.

According to Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Elias Sandig, their office is set to procure organic liquid fertilizer to benefit some 7, 463 farmers in the province that were affected by El Niño.

He added that the province will also be receiving more than 12,000 sacks of hybrid seeds from DA.

But only farmers who were validated at the barangay level can avail of the aid.

Sandig said the farmers should secure validation papers from the kagawad in charge of the agriculture committee in their respective barangays.

After which, the list will be signed by the barangay captain which will then be forwarded to the Municipal Agriculture Office for the approval of the municipal mayor.

Pagkatapos mapirmahan sang mayor masaka sa provincial agriculture. Kung indi sila masunod proseso, indi sila mangin beneficiaries,” he said.

Partial data as of June 14 from the DA regional office showed that losses due to El Niño totaled to more than P1.4 billion, with rice crops recording the highest damages at over P1.16 billion.

Losses in corn and high-value crops totalled P246.34 million and P48.48 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, Capadocio said they are set to join the United People’s SONA on July 22, 2019 at the Sunburst Park in City Proper district to air their concerns.