DA: Sendong damage to crops reaches P15 M
- Marianne V. Go () - December 21, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With the number of fatalities from tropical storm “Sendong” nearing the 1,000 mark, damage to crops, properties, and infrastructure continue to soar, leaving a grim picture of what lies ahead for rehabilitation efforts.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said damage to crops has reached P15.456 million and the figure is expected to swell as reports from the field trickle in. Of the figure, P6.127 million represented damage to palay/paddy rice; P4.553 million, damage to corn; and P4.776 million to high value crops. Sendong’s devastation – largely caused by floods – affected 2,650 hectares of rice lands and 2,060 hectares of land planted to corn. More than 790 hectares of land for high value crops had been damaged.

The National Food Authority (NFA), however, assured the public there is sufficient stock of rice in its inventory.

The DA clarified that only 87 hectares of the affected farmlands are planted to rice in the reproductive and maturity stages. Damaged crops in the reproductive and maturity stages are almost non-recoverable, according to experts.

Damaged crops in the seedling-vegetative stage are easier to recover, according to the DA.

Damaged farmlands planted to rice in the seedling-vegetative stages totaled 2,400 hectares with a production value of more than P4.6 million.

Damaged areas planted to corn in the reproductive and maturity stages cover 165 hectares with an estimated production value of more than P2.6 million, while corn areas in the seedling-vegetative stages cover 1,895 hectares with an estimated production value of P1.9 million.

Despite the damage to farmlands, the NFA said it still has 35 days of rice supply in its inventory or equivalent to 22 million bags. The estimated domestic daily requirement is 31,000 metric tons.

The rice inventory is composed of un-milled palay and rice stored in the agency’s warehouses situated in strategic areas across the country.

In Regions 7 and 10 where Negros Oriental and Cagayan de Oro are situated, the NFA has a total of 1.2 million and 977,499 bags of rice, respectively.

With the current high food security inventory, the NFA is confident it can meet rice demands for relief operations, especially in areas still submerged in floodwaters and where most of the residents are housed in relocation centers.

The NFA also said its field offices in the affected regions are under instructions to closely monitor prices to stave off price manipulations.

Infrastructure damage

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), meanwhile, initially pegged Sendong’s damage to infrastructure at more than P952 million.

DPWH Undersecretary for Regional Operations Romeo Momo said Cagayan de Oro reported P797 million in damage to infrastructure while Iligan posted P155 million.

“Although some of the road sections were not destroyed, bridges were the ones severely damaged by landslides and heavy flooding in the region,” Momo said.

In Iligan City, the Mandulog Bridge sustained the most severe damage, according to Momo. “This bridge is 213 linear meters in length but 100 linear meters of it was washed out by floods. It has become non-passable,” he said. – With Mayen Jaymalin, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Helen Flores, Iris Gonzales, Ma. Elisa Osorio, Donnabelle Gatdula, Evelyn Macairan

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