Friday, February 08, 2008

Truffles for Activists, Fundraiser by SOLE for Bayan and KMU

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Eastern Visayas Youth Council said...

SAGUPA-SB launch Tabang Parag-uma to help farmers in time of calamity

Press Release
By SAGUPA-SB
March 20, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – Days of continued rains due to the development of a weak La Niña since middle of last year brought landslides, floods, displaced several communities, isolated a province from the rest of the region, injured many and killed eighteen as of date. Such alarming situation prompted Sagupa-SB to launch Tabang Parag-uma, an information-education campaign geared to help farmers understand the effects of the La Niña phenomenon, find ways to cope with this situation and facilitate help and assistance to hardly-hit peasant communities.

“As of February 22, estimated figures of the damages brought by the incessant rains are at P659.5 million covering both damages to infrastructure and agriculture. Around ten percent of the rice farm area in the region or around 16,000 hectares of newly-planted areas were badly damaged with an estimated production loss of 31,738 metric tons, as reported by the officers of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 8. The province of Eastern Samar sustained the biggest loss at P79.4 million equivalent to 18,095 metric tons of rice. Eastern Samar is followed by Leyte which recorded a loss of P28.9 million or 10,749 metric tons; Northern Samar with P17.3 million worth of rice losses equivalent to 2,712 metric tons then Samar with losses of P865,000 or 182 metric tons,” Diana Ragub, Advocacy Officer of Sagupa-SB said.

Apart from the losses in agriculture, several communities all over the region were likewise displaced. According to reports from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), nearly 100,000 families or 313,628 individuals were reported to be displaced and affected by the floods.

“It may not be a storm or a typhoon but the continuous rains have brought damage of greater heights and claimed lives like no other typhoon in recent history. The OCD reports that 18 people died mainly by drowning,” said Ragub.

These are devastating figures to speak of but these are expected to rise with the rains pouring again continuously since the first days of March.

“In these kinds of situation and calamities, it is our farmers who are badly affected. It is their farmlands that get inundated; it is their crops that get destroyed. In addition to the everyday problems farmers face in the light of high land rent, lack of capital for production, usurious interest for credits, low market prices for their products, among others, calamities, both natural and man-made add unnecessary burden on their shoulders. We are likewise aware that the domino effect would later sink in – with our farms and crops washed away, the consumer-public would later on feel the increase in prices of rice, vegetables and other agricultural products, especially with landlords-cartels taking advantage of the situation. Therefore, there is a need to help our farmers face this calamity. It is not enough that several groups, local government units and various agencies give out relief packs to the victims because such are only band-aid and short term solutions. Apart from addressing the day to day needs of the victims, a special attention must likewise be extended to address the damages in agriculture and production.

Thus, came Tabang Parag-uma, which particularly aims to:

1. Facilitate agricultural rehabilitation efforts from the farmers, farmers’ organization, government, church sectors, non-government organization and individuals;

2. Call on the local government units and concerned government agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA) to subsidize production expenses, provide credit assistance to farmers’ organizations and cooperatives;

3. Call on a moratorium in the payment of land rent and usurious credit interests;

4. Conduct relief operations;

5. Educate the farmers regarding the phenomenon of La Niña, its effects and how to prepare or address the problems brought by it;

6. Solicit the support of farmer’s group and organizations, barangay officials, local government units, various government agencies, church groups, media and non-government organizations. Encourage volunteers among youth and students for the various activities of Tabang Parag-uma.

Ragub said that anyone willing to extend their assistance may go to DYDW Radyo Diwa where boxes labeled “Tabang Parag-uma” were placed so that anyone willing to help can place the items they donate. For questions and inquiries, you may contact 0928-592-1610.
For Metro Manila residents please contact EVYC at 09274823081

Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma - Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB)
(Samahan ng Maliliit na Magbubukid - Silangang Bisayas)