Press Release
October 19, 2010


To cope with their production loss, Senator Bong Revilla urged farmers and fisherfolks affected by the wrath of super typhoon Juan to avail of the benefits under a newly-enacted law.

Revilla co-authored Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act which was enacted into law last February. It is aimed to make small and medium scale enterprises and industries, particularly those engaged in agriculture and fisheries in the countryside, thrive by means of larger capital and access to bank credit.

According to the lawmaker, all available resources must be provided to farmers and fishermen in the face of the onslaught brought by super typhoon Juan. "Juan has begun to wreck havoc on the food supply of Cagayan as well as in Isabela, which is the second highest rice-producing province in the country.We need to protect our farmers and fisherfolks from the effects of the typhoon. In times like this, we must help our local food producers," he pointed out.

He explained that prior to the passage of the Agri-Agra Reform Act, there was already Presidential Decree 717 or the Agri-Agra Law that required banks to set aside 25% of their loanable funds for agricultural lending - 15% for agricultural production and 10% for agrarian reform. However, the said law allowed banks to divert the 10% agrarian reform share to government securities.

"The Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act redirects the 25% loanable fund in favor of small farmers and small and medium scale enterprises. With credit available in the countryside, business enterprises are expected to thrive, thus, providing more jobs and livelihood opportunities to our people," the lawmaker said.

Under RA 10000, all banking institutions, whether government or private, shall set aside at least twenty-five percent (25%) of their total loanable funds for agriculture and fisheries credit in general, of which at least ten percent (10%) of the loanable funds shall be made available for agrarian reform beneficiaries. "Whether or not there is a typhoon, it is our duty to promote rural development by enhancing access of the agricultural and aquacultural sector to financial services and programs that would increase their production," Bong Revilla added.

According to the National Food Authority (NFA), super typhoon Juan could damage 232,169 tonnes of unmilled rice crop in the northern Philippines , with only 30% of it able to be harvested. In the worst-case scenario, more than 1.8 million bags or P1.53 billion worth of palay in Isabela will likely be damaged. As of 4 p.m. Monday, about 15,000 sacks of rice in two NFA warehouses in Isabela were destroyed by the typhoon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has yet to determine the full extent of the typhoon's effects.

The Philippines is the world's biggest rice importer and damage from the typhoon could see it buy more than expected for 2011.

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