Farmers, fishers demand immediate P10,000 cash aid from gov’t

Distribute P83-B unspent DSWD funds

The government must start giving out urgent cash aid to farmers and fishers affected by successive typhoons, according to militant peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Farmers and fishers trooped to the Department of Agriculture to forward their standing demand for immediate cash aid and production subsidies.

The group said an immediate cash aid of Ph10,000 is necessary to give relief to farmers, fishers, and their families who lost everything to the flood and calamities.

“The government has billions in cash lying around. The P83.42-billion unspent fund with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can immediately cover P10,000 cash aid for 8.3 million farmers and fishers affected by the typhoons,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

“Wala ni kusing na pambili ng bigas at pagkain ang mga magsasaka at mangingisdang sinalanta ng mga bagyo at pagbaha. Wala na silang aasahan na ani at kita dahil nawasak na ang mga pananim, nalunod ang mga alagang hayop, nasira ang mga gamit sa pagsasaka, pati mga bangka. Mahalaga na mabigyan sila ng kagyat na ayuda na P10,000 mula sa gobyerno. Halos lahat ng nasalanta ngayon nakaasa sa tulong at relief goods galing sa mga pribadong organisasyon,” the peasant leader added.

Ramos said the urgent cash aid should be granted across-the-board even to farmers and fishers who are not registered with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA). Only 9.7 million farmers and fishers are registered in the government database.

“Farmers in Cagayan Valley and Bicol regions batterare left with almost nothing — no crops, no houses, no belongings. Everything was washed out and devastated in the flood. The government should not treat farmers as beggars asking for alms and crumbs. Bigyan ng kagyat na tulong ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda. May pera at badyet ang gobyerno,” Ramos insisted as that the government should find ways on how to effectively distribute the P83-billion unused fund of the DSWD.

“The Department of Agriculture (DA) also has funds to spend,” Ramos said, citing the department’s replenishable P1.5 billion Quick Response Fund intended to aid calamity-stricken farmers and fishers.

The QRF is a built-in fund allocation that serves as a standby budget that particular agencies can tap to immediately assist areas stricken by calamities and crises. The QRF gets replenished by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) regularly. The DBM recently added P15-billion to the disaster QRF. ###

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