Press Release
October 21, 2015


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero urged the government to provide immediate assistance to farmers whose crops were destroyed when Typhoon "Lando" ravaged Northern and Central Luzon earlier this week.

Escudero lamented the massive destruction caused by the typhoon on agriculture in hardest hit provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, where flood waters swamped farmlands right during harvest time.

"It can be noted that these are among the country's top rice-producing provinces. The devastation not only threatens the livelihood of farmers, but also food security in the two regions that mainly depend on the crop for their sustenance," the veteran lawmaker said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Agriculture (DA) pegged typhoon damage to the agriculture sector at P5.9 billion, covering a total of 277,060 hectares of farmlands in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Central Luzon regions.

The DA estimated that the four regions have already incurred a production loss of 389,000 metric tons (MT). Of the total, palay accounts for the largest production loss at about 360,000 MT, equivalent to P5.3 billion.

Central Luzon has the worst production loss for rice at 326,000 MT with Nueva Ecija incurring the biggest damage cost, followed by Tarlac, Bulacan, Aurora, Bataan and Pampanga.

Escudero said the government should help affected farmers recover from the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year by providing them all they need to enable them to plant crops in time for the next planting season.

Based on official figures from the Department of Budget and Management, about P9.6 billion in Calamity Fund and Quick Response Fund are immediately available to help those affected by Lando, as well as P1 billion from the People's Survival Fund.

"Aside from seeds and fertilizers, affected farmers also need to rebuild agricultural infrastructure like storage and irrigation facilities to help them in the long-term," said Escudero, the leading vice presidential candidate.

He noted that many storage facilities have been destroyed along with their contents, as well as irrigation systems which are crucial in ensuring the success of the crop.

Nueva Ecija, dubbed as the country's rice granary and "food bowl," produces an average of one million metric tons of milled rice a year. It exports 70 percent of its rice production to nearby areas, including Metro Manila.

In 2014, the agriculture department named Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac and Bataan as among the 10 outstanding provinces for their "invaluable contribution to the national rice production input."

It also cited Aurora and Pampanga for their significant contributions to the increased production of the country's staple food.

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