DA starts preparation for El Niño
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said there will be no repeat of the Kidapawan City Massacre under this administration as the Department of Agriculture (DA) has prepared as early as last year for an expected El Niño.
He said that a DA Task Force on El Niño was organized as early as last year when the first reports of a probable drought were released by the Philippine Weather Bureau and interventions were already programmed.
Among the interventions being readied include water pumps during the period of the drought and seeds for immediately delivery after the El Nino so farmers could recover immediately as well as insurance payments for crop damage especially for those who were not able to receive government pre-emptive interventions like water pumps.
The DA also started preparing emergency rice supply for those adversely affected by the drought; survival and Recovery (SURE) loans which will be granted to those affected by the drought involving P25,000 No-Collateral and No-Interest Loan payable in three years; and continuous social media advisory based on the data collated by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service of the DA which operates 24/7.
“The DA is ready and assures the public that there will be no repeat of hungry farmers staging rallies against government asking for food like what happened in Kidapawan City in April 2016,” Piñol said.
In that incident, two of the hundreds of hungry farmers who demanded for food were killed and several others were wounded when they were fired upon by policemen on orders of local officials who wanted the protesters to be dispersed.