5 months after ‘Pablo,’ P99.2M assistance to farmers in Bukidnon not distributed yet

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) – The provincial government of Bukidnon has allotted a P99.2-million fund as assistance to farmers affected by typhoon “Pablo,” but five months after the tragedy it is yet to be distributed.

Ma. Leah V. Barquez, point person for the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), said the procurement process for the goods to be distributed as assistance was stalled due to the election ban.

Barquez said the P99.2 million is the assistance to farmers sourced from the PDRRMC funds. She cited that about P52 million of the amount was taken from the accumulated PDRRMC funds from 2010 to 2012. The rest, about P47.2 million is taken from the 2013 PDRRMC funds.

She could not give actual computation of the balance of the PDRRMC funds from 2010 to 2013 as of May 24.

Barquez added that there is no news yet about the Department of Agriculture’s assistance to farmers affected by “Pablo.”

Richel Louie Tilanduca, Provincial Agriculture Office administrative officer, said the amount is allotted to buy certified rice seeds, hybrid yellow corn seeds, and urea fertilizer to be distributed to a total of 21,567 farmers.

He said the PAO received agriculture damage reports from Bukidnon’s 2 cities and 16 of its 20 towns after the typhoon ravaged the province on December 4, 2012.

Citing PAO reports, MindaNews reported on December 5 that the partial damage to crops in Bukidnon was estimated at P304 million – P169.8 million to corn and P77.2 million to rice. PAO officials said the estimates came from municipal and city agriculture offices. The rest went to disaster relief operations, emergency shelter assistance and infrastructure work, said Barquez.

Estellita Madjos, assistant provincial agriculturist, said they have proposed distribution in the first week of June.