P7-M RELIEF. Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa says regional offices and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have allotted PHP7 million worth of aid for farmers and fishermen, during a pre-recorded Talk to the People, aired Wednesday (March 30, 2022). The DA assured other forms of assistance are in place in case Taal's volcanic unrest continues. (Screengrab)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated PHP7 million worth of relief for farmers and fisherfolk in Batangas who were affected by the recent unrest of the Taal Volcano.

In a recorded Talk to the People aired Wednesday, DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said they have secured aid for 1,561 farmers and fishermen, some of whom have already been evacuated in barangays Banyaga and Bilibinwang in Agoncillo town.

Ang ating pong (Our) regional offices at (and the) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), naghanda ng PHP7 million na handa po nating ipamigay (have prepared PHP7 million worth of relief goods, ready to be distributed),” he said.

The aid includes 1,401 bags of inbred seeds, 500 kilograms of glutinous corn, 250 kgs of variety of vegetable seeds, and 1.5 million tilapia and fingerlings.

But in case a disruptive eruption occurs, the DA said it can allot up to PHP200 million in additional relief from the department’s quick response fund.

Besides this, de Mesa also noted other programs with budgets disbursed from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Inilabas na po ng DBM ‘yung ating (The DBM has released our) PHP500-million fuel discount program at ‘yun pong ating (and our) Rice Farmers Financial Assistance ngayong taon na nagkakahalaga po ng (this year amounting to) PHP8.9 billion. Ito po ay malaking tulong kung sakaling magpapatuloy ang problema ng Taal Volcano (This is a huge aid in case the volcanic unrest persists),” he added.

Taal Volcano remains under Alert Level 3 since its phreatomagmatic eruption last March 26, displacing 3,000 residents in nearby barangays. (PNA)