‘Maring’ crop damage jumps to more than P600M; death toll climbs to 13


Damage to agriculture caused by severe tropical storm “Maring” jumped to over P600 million, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA), even as  disaster officials reported that the typhoon’s death toll has climbed to 13.

DA said Maring affected 32,882 hectares of agricultural areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region and Western Visayas, affecting at least  29,000 farmers and 36,354 metric tons (MT) of crops, DA said.

Maring pummeled Northern Luzon before it began to move away from the country on Tuesday afternoon, leaving cities and municipalities in some provinces in Regions 1 and 2 and in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) flooded.

While generating widespread flooding in the country’s northern portion that damaged crops in the three regions, Maring also spawned landslides in Baguio City and Benguet,  and flash floods in Palawan and Ilocos Sur, which claimed the lives of most of the fatalities.

“Affected commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries. These values are subject to validation,” the DA said in its latest bulletin report released on Wednesday afternoon.

The DA said bulk of the agricultural damage and losses caused by Maring was recorded in the rice sector. Rice farmers lost 27,016 MT of produce worth P453.8 million, according to the DA’s report. The DA said Maring damaged 25,945 hectares of rice farms.

The corn sector reported 7,710 MT of production loss worth P119.8 million from 6,637 hectares of land, according to the DA.

The DA added that high-value crops farmers, mostly producing assorted vegetables and bananas, lost 1,627 MT of produce worth P26.2 million due to the weather disturbance.

“The DA will provide the following assistance to affected farmers and fishers:  Quick Response Fund [QRF] amounting to P172 million for the rehabilitation of affected areas,” it said.

“A total of 168,998 bags of rice seeds; 16,601 bags of corn seeds, and 1,480 kgs of assorted vegetables from affected regions,” it added.

DA said farmers might also avail of a zero-interest, no collateral and payable in 10 years loan from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of up to P20,000. The ACPC has a budget of P500 million for the emergency loan assistance program.

The DA said the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. has sufficient funds to indemnify affected farmers.
DA also said farmers in three regions were able to save 141,635 MT of rice worth P2.08 billion prior to the landfall of Maring. Corn farmers were able to salvage 55,654 MT worth P779.15 million from their 13,776 hectares of farm, DA added.

The NDRRMC said that search and rescue personnel were still sifting through the landslide-affected houses on Wednesday, hoping to find victims that it listed as missing.

Maring damaged at least  an initial 109 houses in Regions 3 and 4B and in CAR and Caraga Region, and affected 6,111 families or 21,511 individuals in 237 villages. It also forced the preemptive evacuation of 1,216 families.

The NDRRMC is yet to determine Maring’s damage to infrastructure.

BBM deploys aid to Northern Luzon

Presidential aspirant former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said has started deploying rapid-response teams to aid “Maring” victims in Northern Luzon.

The former senator who hails from Ilocos Norte, has dispatched teams from Manila and nearby provinces to help facilitate the distribution of relief goods and extend assistance in areas hardest hit by the storm.

“I have given instructions to activate our quick response teams in Manila and in key areas in Northern Luzon.  Our staff and volunteers have started shoring up our relief packs. Each team that will be dispatched will bring with them relief packs that will consist of rice, slippers, vitamins and KN95 face masks as a standard kit,” Marcos said.

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