MANILA, Philippines - The government has so far released a total of P5.21 billion for the agricultural component of the recovery and reconstruction program for areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda.
The Department of Budget and Management turned over P1.05 billion to the Department of Agriculture to support various initiatives under the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) program.
The money will allow the DA to implement clearing and desilting operations in Yolanda-stricken regions, as well as provide farm tools, seeds, tractors, fertilizers, and farm machinery fuel subsidies to farmers in Regions IV-B (MIMAROPA), V (Bicol Region), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), and IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).
“Although it’s been six months since Yolanda hit the country, several communities in the Visayas and Mindanao are still in the process of recovering from the devastation. Farmers were especially hard-hit, as the super typhoon laid waste to vast swaths of agricultural land,” DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.
According to the DA, damages to the agriculture sector reached P31.1 billion as of March 2014. This includes production losses of P27.07 billion in crops, fisheries, and livestock, as well as infrastructure losses (including irrigation systems and facilities) of P4.06 billion.
“We know that there is much work to be done, however, in restoring normalcy and economic stability in agricultural communities destroyed by Yolanda.
Through RAY (Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda) the administration can mobilize the necessary post-disaster aid to affected regions to complement our disaster preparation initiatives,” Abad said.