Agri damage from Taal eruption soars to P3-B

MANILA — The cost of damage to agriculture due to the Taal volcano eruption has soared to PHP3 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Friday.

In its latest damage report, the DA said the agricultural damages and losses covered a total of 15,790 hectares and 1,923 animal heads in the Calabarzon region.

The department cited that the fisheries sector is the most affected with an estimated amount of PHP1.6 billion in losses for the culture of tilapia and some bangus species.

Other affected commodities include coffee, cacao, pineapple, assorted fruits and vegetables, rice, and coconut.

The Bureau of Animal Industry has delivered 20 bags of animal feeds, drugs, and medicines for the rescued livestock.

Earlier, the DA regional office in Calabarzon announced the distribution of PHP21.7 million worth of combined interventions for crops and livestock to 17 local government units including Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Lemery, Laurel, Lipa City, San Jose, Nasugbu, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Padre Garcia, Tanauan City, Malvar and Taal.

As for loan assistance, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has an initial amount of PHP30 million ready to provide to Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel as funds for the implementation of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Assistance that will benefit around 1,200 farmers or fisherfolk in Batangas.

According to the National Disaster Risk and Management Council (NDRRMC), the number of families affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas rose to 17,555, which is equivalent to 77,438 persons.

Of this number, 15,047 families or 66,262 persons are temporarily staying in 283 evacuation centers.  Filane Mikee Cervantes /PNA –