Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline de Guia, commending the provision of assistance and aid to farmers and fisherfolks affected by recent typhoons

Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline de Guia, commending the provision of assistance and aid to farmers and fisherfolks affected by recent typhoons

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commends the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the various aid and support it provides for farmers and fisherfolks who were affected by the onslaught of typhoons Rolly and Quinta. Through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), the agency allocated PhP1 billion fund to cover the losses suffered by farmers.

DA also has a quick response fund amounting to PhP400 million that farmers can avail by submitting damage reports that detail the extent of damages and losses they suffered. Further, they will provide up to PhP25,000 through their Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program to agricultural workers that are affected by the calamity. The loan shall be granted with zero interest and no collateral payable in 10 years.

Equally notable are the provision of seeds to affected farmers; distribution of medicines and biologics for the livestock and poultry industry; provision of small ruminants and native chickens to those heavily affected by the calamity; and the preparations being done to distribute some 10 million pieces of tilapia and milkfish fingerlings as well as fishing gears and paraphernalia for the fisheries sector.

In times of calamities, farmers and fisherfolks incur devastating losses that mire them in debts and cyclical poverty. The agriculture sector ensure food security for the country but they are often in a state of insecurity due to oppressive systems compounded by the onslaught of numerous typhoons.

The provision of financial assistance, aid, and other forms of support for our farmers and fisherfolks are important in their fast recovery. In the long view, it can also help curb systemic problems in agriculture towards preventing intergenerational poverty among small farmers and fisherfolks.

CHR hopes that all support and aid are distributed with utmost promptness, diligence, and transparency to ensure that farmers and fisherfolks are given a fair chance to recover, rise above the losses, and sustain a dignified livelihood. As an agricultural country, investing and prioritizing the rights and dignity of this sector is important to the recovery of the community and will redound to the benefit of all. ###