The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it distributed assistance to farmers and fishers in areas in Mindanao that were recently struck by a strong earthquake.
In a statement, the DA said Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. visited the affected sites in Region 12 last Friday and led the distribution of the government’s aid.
“I came here to personally see the situation after the earthquake,” Laurel told workers gathered at the General Santos Fish Port Complex. “I want to see firsthand what happened here and how we can help our farmers and fishermen in Region 12, in Gensan and neighboring provinces.”
Laurel met with irrigators groups in Koronadal City to lead the National Irrigation Administration’s distribution of P26.3 million worth of machineries and checks for indemnity and loans in South Cotabato.
In General Santos City, Laurel distributed vegetable seeds, coconut and banana planting materials, fertilizers, and indemnity claims worth P4.7 million.
He said three teams from the DA have been deployed to help in the ongoing field validation in various areas in Region 12 affected by the earthquake. But even as the field work is still ongoing, Laurel said 54 individuals have been master-listed as recipients of new fishing boats and paraphernalia worth an estimated P2.08 million.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is also addressing the damage caused by swells spawned by the earthquake to fish cages owned by the Malapatan Fishermen Association worth P1.8 million.
The DA is provisioning 1,000 pieces of banana planting materials and 1,000 hybrid coconut seedlings for farmers affected by the earthquake.
Laurel said other assistance may be provided after the field assessment. He added financial assistance is also available at the Agricultural Credit Policy Council.
The agriculture secretary made the rounds in south-central Mindanao to personally oversee the relief operations on the farmers and fishers affected by the temblor.
On November 17, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Sarangani, Davao Occidental and a large section of Mindanao, killing several people and injuring hundreds while damaging hundreds of houses and infrastructures.