Press Release
April 4, 2010


NPC-NP-LDP Vice-Presidential candidate Loren Legarda urged banks and government financial institutions to fast-track compliance with the implementation of the revised Agri-Agra Law to boost financial support for rural farmers, whom she calls the country's "silent heroes".

The law mandates banks and financial institutions to extend 25% of loanable funds to the agricultural, fisheries and agrarian reform sectors. The revised law, authored and sponsored by Legarda as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, removed various loopholes and alternative compliances, such as investments in eligible government securities, which in most cases has no connection to agri-agra credits and does not benefit our farmers at all.

"Our farmers are our silent heroes. They feed the country, and yet they are the ones who go hungry. They deserve more support from the government and the private sector, especially at a time when the country faces drought and food scarcity," she stressed.

With El Niño's damage to the country's farm crops having increased to P8 billion ($174.6 million), Legarda emphasized the urgency of implementing Agri-Agra programs to farmers in the provinces.

The provinces considered highly vulnerable to El Niño are Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Zambales, Cavite, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga City, Sarangani and South Cotabato.

Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Romblon, Sorsogon, Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur and Davao City are considered moderately vulnerable to the phenomenon.

"The 1998 El Niño taught us the need to help our farmers deal with the adverse impact of El Niño in the country's food production. This time around, we need to give real, concrete assistance to our farmers. Pag pinabayaan natin ang ating mga magsasaka, tayo rin ang kawawa," said Legarda.

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