Catanduanes town prioritizes abaca farmers and fishermen

News, Provincial

LEGAZPI CITY – After three typhoons that devastated the province of Catanduanes in late 2020 and destroyed the Catandunhanons’ main source of living – abaca – Bato town Mayor Juan Rodulfo Jr. has focused his attention this year on the crop’s rehabilitation and helping fishermen,

“We have to do abaca replanting for recovery and the replenishment of bancas of our affected fisherfolks. Based on our data, 180 bancas in Bato were lost or destroyed,” Rodulfo told Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary JV Arcena during a recent Laging Handa Network Briefing.

As part of the rehabilitation efforts, Rodulfo said the Department of Agriculture has provided seeds for the affected farmers and a loan assistance program for the fisherfolk.

In Bato town, at least 1,800 abaca farmers and 700 fishermen lost their livelihood after the series of destructive typhoons late last year.

“To sustaub their living needs, some of the abaca farmers, engaged meantime in construction labor since the rehabilitation of abaca will take a longer time, while for the fisherfolk, the cost of fish here increased,” he added.

Based on data from the Fiber Development Authority (FIDA), the total area planted to abaca in 2017 was 24,023 hectares, lower than the 25,367 hectares recorded  in 2016.

Records also show that the world abaca production in 2013 was 64,319.54 metric tons. Of this, 55,958 metric tons were from the Philippines and mostly produced by Catanduanes, while Ecuador produced 8,362 metric tons.

During the briefing, Rodulfo requested National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Jun Escalada to assess and validate the number of partially and totally damaged houses in his municipality as a result of the typhoons, so that a long-term solution could be provided.

“For Bato, partially damaged houses were 2,848 while 2,204 were totally damaged, so that brings us to 5,552 households that we need to help. Partially damaged will be given P5,000 each while the totally damaged will each receive P10,000 through the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program that must already be given,” said Escalada.

He added that for the long-term solution, the NHA is now coordinating with concerned agencies for the allocation of P5.8 billion for the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. (PNA)

Escalada said he saw the typhoon devastation in Bato, and the need for a permanent resettlement site to be established in the municipality. (PNA)

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