QUEZON CITY, Nov. 11 —  Agriculture Secretary William Dar on November 10, 2020, handed over more than P200-million worth of farm and fishery assistance, benefiting thousands of farmers and fishers in Catanduanes, particularly in the municipality of Bato, where typhoon “Rolly” hit hardest, and in the capital town of Virac.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar on November 10, 2020, handed over more than P200-million worth of farm and fishery assistance, benefiting thousands of farmers and fishers in Catanduanes, particularly in the municipality of Bato, where typhoon “Rolly” hit hardest, and in the capital town of Virac.

The agri chief joined Senator Christopher “Bong” Go and three other department secretaries — Francisco Duque of health, Silvestre Bello of labor and employment, and Rolando Bautista of social welfare and development — who also extended their respective financial aid, food packs and other forms of assistance to Catandunganons, who felt and experienced the brunt and devastation of the strongest typhoon that visited the country this year, according to DOST-PAGASA.

Senator Go led the handing of assistance to typhoon victims through Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua, Bato Mayor Juan Rodulfo, and Virac Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento, Jr., during a simple program held at the Bato Central Elementary School and at Virac municipal multi-purpose auditorium that were both partially damaged by typhoon “Rolly.”

The various DA assistance for typhoon-affected farmers and fishers in Catanduanes and Bicol region, respectively, consist of:

·      P121 M – to rehabilitate abaca farms in Bicol region through the DA’s Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA);

·      P23-M worth of seeds of hybrid and inbred rice, corn and assorted vegetables, urea fertilizer, 4-wheel tractor, and farm implements for Catandunganon farmers;

·      P25 M – for fishing boats and engines, nets and other paraphernalia, marine plywood and other materials for boat repair, tilapia fingerlings, canned sardines, and other forms of assistance from the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for Bicol region, of which P5.5M will go to Catanduanes;

·      1,000 metric tons or 20,000 bags (50 kg each) of rice from the DA’s National Food Authority (NFA) for the Province of Catanduanes;

·      Crop, livestock or fishery insurance payments, ranging from P10,000 to P15,000 per insured farmer, from the DA’s Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), alloting a total of P592.4 M as insurance payments for 32,761 Bicol insured farmers affected by super typhoon “Rolly;” and

·      Emergency and rehabilitation loan, worth P25,000 per borrower, from the DA’s Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC), under its Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program. The DA-ACPC allotted an initial P100M for Bicol under the SURE program. The loan is non-collateral, has zero interest, and payable in 10 years.

During the program in the town of Bato, Senator Go also handed over P10-M financial assistance from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the province of Catanduanes. He also distributed hundreds of face masks and shields, boxes of medicines, and dozens of bicycles and computer tablets.

Last week, Secretary Dar also visited Polangui, Albay, where he led the distribution of P90-M worth of various assistance to typhoon “Rolly” affected farmers and fishers.

The initial estimate of the agri-fishery damage in Bicol due to typhoon “Rolly” amounts to more P3 billion, said DA Bicol Regional Director Rodel Tornilla.

During the visit in Catanduanes, Secretary Dar was joined by DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan, NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal, BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona, PhilFIDA Administrator Kennedy Costales, and DA Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes.  (DA StratComms)

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