Press Release
March 3, 2010


TAGBILARAN CITY , BOHOL - Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. today recommended the local government to cushion the farmers from the devastating effect of drought-causing El Niño phenomenon by subsidizing or partly funding the insurance crops in the province.

"Aside from tourism, agriculture is the economic driver in Bohol . The farmers' meager income is not enough to buy insurance for their crops," he said.

Although the Department of Agriculture (DA) identified the provinces in Central Visayas as among the areas "moderately vulnerable" to the El Nino phenomenon, there are 3,788 hectares of rice lands in Bohol that may be affected. This will result to a decreased rice yield in the region.

Earlier, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) urged the farmers in the province to insure their crops as protection for any damage should their plantation get affected by the dry spell. The farmer will recover the cost of production through insurance.

Although the regional department official in Region 7 have already devised measures to protect the crops - such as establishing 844 units of shallow tube wells and pump irrigation system open-source (PISOS); restoration or rehabilitation of seven existing irrigation systems and distribution of drought-resistant varieties for some 125 hectares, Bong Revilla recommends that either the local government or the national government provide funds for farmers in order to protect their income.

It was learned that the DA realigned a P1.2 billion from its budget to finance El Niño mitigation measures. Out of that amount, the department allotted P570 million worth of intervention measures for the palay sector, while P613.7 million for the corn subsector. About P411 million will be provided for high-value commercial crops and P117.4 million for fisheries.

"Much has been allocated for mitigation measures but the impact of natural disasters and other agricultural risks have directly hit the farmers and their income. One way of protecting the farmers' welfare is to insure their crops. I suggest that the government should fund a fraction of, if not the entire, the insurance premium," he said.

Meanwhile, the senator lauded the local officials here for hauling the province from poverty.

"Over the past three decades, Bohol had been listed among the 20 poorest provinces in the country. It had an interlocking problem of insurgency," he said, adding the LGU is on the right track on addressing these pressing problems by strengthening its agricultural productivity - which resulted to increase employment opportunity; improving educational system and infrastructures.

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