FLOODED. The aerial view of the flooded portion of the municipality of Sigma in Capiz due to Tropical Storm Agaton in this undated photo. On Monday (April 25, 2022), the Department of Agriculture (DA) said they are speeding up the distribution of aid to affected farmers and fishers. (Photo courtesy of Speed Pelaez/PDRRMO FB page)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said they are speeding up the distribution of aid to affected farmers and fishers, as damage from Tropical Storm Agaton's onslaught shot up to PHP3 billion.

In the Laging Handa public briefing, Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin Adriano noted the DA has secured five assistance deliveries to the much-affected sector.

These include the PHP500 million worth of quick response fund; PHP100 million for credit program; around PHP88 million worth of free seedlings for rice and various crops; and PHP13 million assistance for poultry losses; as well as the delivery of agricultural insurance benefits.

“Pinakikilos na rin namin ‘yung Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation na bayaran ‘yung mga magsasaka na naka-insured sa kanila ng mga damages dahil dito sa typhoon Agaton (We are also mobilizing the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation to pay insured farmers for the damage brought by [Tropical Storm] Agaton)," he said.

In the DA's latest bulletin, 67,586 farmers and fishers have been reportedly affected, particularly in Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, and Caraga. 

The highest value was recorded in rice production, hitting up to PHP1.3 billion in losses over more than 29,000 hectares of land area. (PNA)