To support Bicolano farmers and promote agri-fishery development in the region, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Department of Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. led the distribution of agricultural interventions worth a total of P181.58 million in Albay.

According to DA Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla, this is on top of the P101.54 million Presidential Assistance to Farmers and Fisherfolk (PAFF) that the Office of the President has allocated for El Niño-affected communities in Albay, Masbate, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon.

Director Tornilla added that DA Bicol is in the process of completing the delivery of 15,300 bags of hybrid rice seeds worth P76.50 million to 17 Local Government Units (LGUs) and is preparing for the distribution of fertilizer discount vouchers amounting to P51.97 million to cover 15,288 hectares of rice areas in 18 LGUs in the province. Also, one unit of cassava granulator worth P199,500 was turned over to Oas Vigorous Farmers Association and two units open source pumping set worth P218,000 were given to Palapas Multi-Purpose Farmers Association in Ligao City, Albay and Sa Agrarian Reform Iriba gabos sa Kauswagan (SARIGAN) Daraga ARC Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Daraga, Albay.

Lowland vegetable production inputs worth a total of P2.40 million were also given to 33 identified farmer associations in Albay. These include hot pepper and lowland vegetable seeds, foliar fertilizer, soil conditioner, plastic crates and plastic mulch.

Under the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) P1.75 million worth of piglets and hog feeds were awarded; one set of animal drugs worth P690,000, and three apiculture packages amounting to P300,000 were awarded to FCA. A P2.5 million-worth Cattle Multiplier Farm was awarded to the Caratagan Rice, Corn and Vegetable Growers Inc. under the Livestock Economic Enterprise Development Program.

DA Bicol’s attached agencies also provided various interventions namely 27,633 bags of certified in-bred rice seeds to 18 LGUs in Albay from PhilRice, two units of four-wheel drive tractors to Gasulabida Irrigators’ Association, Inc. and Bicol Seeds Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative from PhilMech; credit assistance amounting to P15 million to JMH Microfinance Inc. under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s (ACPC) Agri-Negosyo Program. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) turned over 10 units of 18-footer with 7.5 horsepower gasoline engine fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boats complete with accessories to fisherfolk in Albay. They also provided P600 million-worth Techno Demo Projects on Tilapia Culture to five fisherfolk associations in the province. Moreover, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) released P1.14 million-worth of insurance to 188 farmers affected by El Nino.

PBBM also led the ceremonial turnover of P101.54 million-worth PAFF that will benefit over 10,000 farmers affected by El Niño in Albay, Masbate, Catanduanes and Sorsogon. He personally awarded the P10,000 cash aid each to the initial 40 farmer-beneficiaries from the aforementioned provinces. The provincial local government units will facilitate the distribution of the PAFF to farmer-beneficiaries identified by the DA Bicol based on damage reports submitted by respective LGUs. Governor Joseph C. Cua received the P10.23 million allocation for 23 farmers in Catanduanes, Governor Atty. Edcel Greco Lagman accepted the P41.55 allocation million for 3,155 farmers in Albay. The President also awarded the P36.79 million allocation for 2,679 farmers in Masbate to Governor Antonio T. Kho and the P13 million allocation for 300 farmers in Sorsogon to Governor Jose Edwin B. Hamor.

The President mentioned that PAFF aimed to assuage the economic effect of El Niño to 19,000 families in 300 barangays in Albay, Catanduanes, and Masbate, who were mostly rice and corn farmers based on data from DA, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

In his message, PBBM thanked the Bicolanos for their support and trust to his administration. He also assured that the government will continue to strive to implement programs and projects as well as provide interventions and services that will uplift the quality of lives of rural communities and secure the future of the next generation.

“Sa mga minamahal kong kababayan dito sa Legazpi at sa mga nanggaling pa sa iba’t-ibang karatig-bayan nito, muli ko pong ipinapaabot sa inyo ang aking taos-pusong pasasalamat sa tiwala at suporta na ipinagkaloob niyo sa akin. Asahan po ninyo na patuloy na nagsisikap kaming lahat sa pamahalaan upang maibigay ang lahat ng kailangan ninyo para mapagaan at mapaunlad naman ang inyong mga buhay at mapaganda naman ang magiging kinabukasan ng inyong pamilya at ng inyong lugar. Hangad po namin na maging masagana at produktibo ang bawat Pilipino nang sa gayon ay matupad na natin ang inaasam na isang maunlad, masagana at mapayapang bukas… Kasama ng buong puwersa ng pamahalaan, tutuparin po namin ang pangako na walang Pilipinong maiiwan sa ating paglalakbay patungo sa isang Bagong Pilipinas,” he said.

The event, which was held in Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City, Albay was the second leg of PBBM’s Distribution of Presidential Assistance to Farmers, Fisherfolk, and Families in Bicol after conducting a similar event in Camarines Sur on the same day, June 7. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V with reports from Earl Vincent P. Vegas, DA RFO V FOD Chief and Marissa Joy O. Villar and Mary Grace S. Milan, DA FOD Monitoring and Special Concerns Unit V)

Photo Credits: Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V with Joseph Sarza III, AMIA Albay