Press Release
July 29, 2023

Legarda bats for agri support after over P1B losses from Egay

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda calls for support for the country's agriculture sector after super typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) left over P1 billion worth of damages in agricultural products.

In its situation bulletin issued 2:00 pm Saturday, July 29, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that typhoon Egay has left P1.36 billion worth of damage to agriculture, with a volume of production loss of 62,259 metric tons, affecting 98,969 hectares of agricultural land and 91,268 farmers.

The damaged commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and poultry, and fisheries.

As DA reported, the increase in the value of damages is due to the updated reports from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Western Visayas.

Antique, Legarda's home province, has sustained P5.5 million losses in rice crops due to the typhoon, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture said Friday.

"We need to do better in helping our farmers deal with typhoons and other disasters. Our efforts need to be crop-specific, site-level, and continuous. We also need to look at systemic and ecosystem-based resilience measures," she remarked, adding that the ecosystem damage, perennially unaccounted for in disasters, contributes to lessening the sector's capacity to rebound from disasters.

Legarda furthered that while the government is always ready to provide emergency relief assistance for farmers, they need help with resilient varieties to plant, advice on better timing, and ecosystem-based protections like windbreaks and watersheds.

She strongly supports technological advancements and science-based analysis as a key method to develop a modern, resilient, and sustainable agriculture industry to provide the most appropriate, specific, and well-directed support pre and post-disaster.

"We have to stop the cycle of disaster and poverty in agriculture," Legarda stressed.

"Our farmers deserve vital and proper execution of the responsive, strong legislative support, which will make our agriculture sector less vulnerable. All policies and programs must be climate-resilient, restorative, have rationalized value chains that lead to less waste, and ensure a better life for the backbone of our society - our farmers and fisherfolk," she said.

As a four-term senator, Legarda has championed building a stronger foundation for the country's agriculture. She co-authored the Rural Farms Schools Act under Republic Act 10618, pushing for the establishment of rural farm schools as an alternative secondary education platform.

She is also an author and a principal sponsor of the Organic Agriculture Act under RA 10068, which calls for establishing the National Organic Agricultural Program and its amended version under RA 11511 recognizing the Participatory Guarantee Systems as a method of certifying organic produce.

To extend financial assistance to the farmers, she principally authored and sponsored RA 10000, or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, to require banks to a 25% allocation of their loanable funds to agriculture. Her legislation also includes House Bill 8385, or the Integrated Urban Agriculture Act, institutionalizing urban agriculture as a sustainable land use system for food production in the community.

Typhoon Egay left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Thursday morning. However, another tropical storm, Falcon, with the international name Khanun, entered PAR at 11:00 pm on Friday. Its center was estimated at 1,315 east of Central Luzon at 10:00 am on Saturday.

Falcon is the country's sixth tropical cyclone this year and the third for July.

Legarda's office continuously monitors the situation in areas most affected by typhoon Egay so that proper assistance may be provided.

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