QUEZON CITY — The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said farmers affected by Tropical Depression Usman will have to face new hardships in the New Year due to severe damage in agriculture, properties and infrastructure caused by heavy rains and flooding last week. Almost 46,000 families or close to 200,000 individuals were affected by the tropical depression.
According to official government reports, #TDUsman caused 75 confirmed casualties while 16 persons remain missing after heavy rains, flooding and landslides battered Bicol, Samar and Southern Luzon provinces.
As of January 2, the government pegged Usman’s damage to agriculture at Php299.4 million, mostly rice, corn and high-value crops including fruit trees, vegetables and root crops in Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.
The initial reported damage covers 13,862 hectares of farms with an estimated volume loss of about 9,606 metric tons (MT) and affecting around 11,231 farmers in the typhoon-afflicted provinces.
Bicol and Northern Samar regions were considered critical areas as vast hectares of rice paddies were inundated in flood and farmers need to plant rice as soon as flood waters subside.
“Immediate aid to farmers affected by #TDUsman is necessary,” says Antonio Flores, secretary general of KMP.
Not enough warnings and actions from NDDRMC, DILG, gov’t agencies
The farmers’ organization said key government agencies, particularly Malacanang and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) were not on top of the situation when #TDUsman entered PAR and eventually battered southern Luzon, Bicol and Eastern Visayas provinces.
“More than the usual monitoring and obligatory text alerts, Malacanang, DILG, NDDRMC and key agencies obviously slacked while Usman is battering several provinces. The high death rate is a proof of this negligence.”
“Malacanang, interior and local government secretary Eduardo Ano and national defense secretary and concurrent NDRRMC chairperson Delfin Lorenzana slept on their jobs,” said Flores. “President Duterte previously bragged that military men can do their jobs diligently, then why is the death rate this high? It’s evident that these generals turned department secretaries slacked because it’s not yet monsoon season and they underestimated the effects of #TDUsman. They must explain and be held accountable for their negligence.” # nordis.net