PGMA directs DA to ship more NFA rice to all flood-hit Pacific seaboard areas of RP
Tacloban City (February 24) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ship more rice to all the flood-hit areas, not only in Leyte and Samar, but in all of the Pacific seaboard from Bicol to Davao Oriental.
The President's directive comes in the face of the reports that in Eastern Visayas, 60,379 families consisting of 305,735 people from 596 barangays in Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar and Leyte, were affected by the flooding brought about by the incessant rains in the past 11 days.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap who was with the President during her visit to Tacloban enroute to Dolores, Eastern Samar on February 23, agreed that the shipment of rice is the most critical at the moment but the need for rice will go on even as the flood waters go down.
Secretary Yap said that initial assessment in the flood-hit areas showed that 30,000 hectares of the 4 Million hectares of rice lands programmed for this year, have been affected by floods. What the Department of Agriculture see is that about 10,000 hectares affected which will not recover.
For that, Secretary Yap said that DA has about P5 Million in emergency seed support that is ready. When the waters go down, the Department of Agriculture will distribute the production support right away, Secretary Yap enthused.
DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral who was also with the President's entourage reported that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has already sent a total of 3000 family food packs, 1500 family clothing packs and augmented with P1 Million for Region 8 for the immediate necessities associated with the floods.
For his part, Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas, Secretary Victor Domingo, informed the President during the interaction with the media at the DZR Airport VIP Lounge, that he has already provided Eastern Samar with 200 sacks of NFA rice through Office of Civil Defense Director Salvador Estudillo.
Secretary Domingo added that on Thursday, he personally gave Congressman Teodulo Coquilla, a P1.5 Million check from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to buy some food and medicines. He added that the President will also give another P1.5 million to Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone when she goes to Dolores later that morning.
The President informed the media that she will give her other directives after listening to the report of the National Disaster Coordinating Council which was scheduled to meet in Dolores, Eastern Samar. (PIA 8) [top]