Go confirms Piñol has filed courtesy resignation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 28, 2019   •   1114

Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol has filed his courtesy resignation, according to Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go on Thursday (June 28).

Based on the letter submitted by Piñol, he asked the president to be relieved from his current post and be transferred to another position that will fit his skills.

“With the best interest of the Department of Agriculture and its stakeholders in mind, may I request that I be relieved from my present position as Secretary of Agriculture and reassign to whichever agency  you believe I would be effective including the Mindanao Development Authority,” Pinol said.

According to Senator Go, Piñol’s decision is possibly due to the problems regarding the rice-self sufficiency program of the DA.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte is also considering transferring Piñol to the Mindanao Development Authority.

“I cannot see anybody in the horizon except Piñol who knows and grew up in Mindanao. He’s a farmer and governor…and that MinDA position is a Cabinet position,” he said during an interview with reporters on June 27.—AAC

Go calls for transparency in Kuwaiti gov’t probe on death of Filipina worker

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on Kuwaiti authorities to be transparent with their investigation into the death of another Filipina household worker.

The victim, Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly died at the hands of her Kuwaiti employer.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Go condemned Villavende’s brutal killing and called on Kuwaiti authorities to make sure that the perpetrators in Villavende’s case will be punished according to the fullest extent of their laws.

“Kinokondena ko ‘yung pagpatay kay Jeanelyn at despite the May 2018 agreement between the Philippines and Kuwaiti government, there are still reports of violence and abuses committed against our fellow Filipinos in Kuwait,” he said.

“Masakit na iniiwan ng mga kababayan natin ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay upang makapagtrabaho lang sa mga malalayong lugar at mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanilang pamilya. Mas masakit malaman na sa kabila ng kanilang sakripisyo, sila ay patuloy na naaabuso at minsan namamatay pa,” he added.

The senator also expressed his sympathy for the family of the victim as he vowed to provide assistance for them, particularly for the medical needs of Villavende’s father, with the help of the Malasakit Center.

“Nakikiramay ako sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn. Asahan na kaisa ninyo ako sa paghanap ng agarang hustisya sa pagkamatay ng inyong mahal sa buhay.”

Go also called on concerned government agencies to coordinate in regard to the immediate repatriation of the slain OFW.

“Kailangang masigurado din na maibigay ng gobyerno at maging ng private insurance company ang lahat ng mga benepisyo para sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn, katulad ng livelihood assistance, death and burial assistance, scholarship sa naiwang kapamilya at iba pa,” he added.

Citing Villavende’s case, Go underscored the need for a separate department to deal with all overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.

In July 2018, he filed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

The proposed measure aims to establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos to serve as the umbrella agency to specifically address all the issues and concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families, to afford them full protection, promote their full and just employment, mitigate the social costs back home, and serve as a channel to address OFW issues and grievances.

The measure further creates an Overseas Filipinos Assistance Fund to provide financial support to Filipino migrants in distress, inclusive of repatriation and provisions for life-saving funds in times of great emergency or distress, and provides training and livelihood loans for OFWs returning to the Philippines for good.

The bill also mandates the creation of “OFW Malasakit Centers” in all provinces and major cities to ensure prompt and efficient provision of services to OFWs and their families, such as acquisition of government permits, validation of overseas job offers, grievance and complaints desks and reintegration services.

Under current laws, OFWs need to go to different government agencies scattered in several departments and offices to secure their needed documents and present their other concerns, such as employment and technical education.

If passed into law, the measure is seen to help in curbing issues and inconveniences experienced by Filipino migrant workers and will also provide better protection for them.

DA estimates Typhoon Tisoy damage, losses

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2019

Fishermen secure boats in anticipation rain and strong winds brought by Typhoon Kammuri, in Cavite City, Philippines, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Agriculture on Monday (December 9) released the estimated damage and losses brought by Typhoon “Tisoy”.

The department announced that Tisoy caused damage and losses to around Php 3.70B.

In a statement released on Monday, the DA said: “the volume of production loss on rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries amounted to 195,046 metric tons, affecting 132,166 hectares and 92,701 farmers and fisherfolks.”

It explained that the increase from the initial estimate of Php 1.93B happened when updated and additional reports from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Ilocos Region, and Eastern Visayas arrived.

The DA added that, “The damage and losses are only equivalent to 1% of the estimated total rice production by the end of 2019.”

Based on the DA’s monthly projection, losses in rice production is only 9% of the projected production for December. The estimated loss in corn production, meanwhile, was only 1.56%.

The Department said it has an available Php 250 million from the Quick Response Fund (QRF) for rehabilitation.

“The Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) allocated PhP 65 million under the Survival Recovery (SURE) Program for assistance. The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) will fast-track the release of indemnity to farmers and fisherfolk hit by the typhoon,” the statement added.

It further said that they have prepared a total of 93,711 bags of rice seeds, 17,999 bags of corn seeds, 1,979 kgs of high-value crops seed reserves ready for distribution to affected farmers who are ready to replant.

Moreover, 7,500 coconut seedlings from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and 151,142 bags of RCEF seeds for eligible RCEF beneficiaries from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are also ready for distribution in Region 5.

Affected fisherfolks in the region will also receive relief goods, tilapia fingerlings, and fishing paraphernalia (gill nets, bottom set long line, 30ft fiberglass boat engine) from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 5 (BFAR-5).

The DA also said that the concerned RFOs are still conducting field validation to give more accurate reports regarding the impact of Typhoon Tisoy. —mbmf

‘Tisoy’ destroys P530-M worth of crops in CALABARZON, Bicol

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2019

A handout photo made available by Greenpeace-Philippines shows villagers working among damaged houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Kammuri in Legazpi city, Albay Province, Philippines, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/BASILIO SEPE

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported an estimated damage to agriculture from the onset of Typhoon Tisoy in CALABARZON and the Bicol Region which reached to P530-million.

Based on initial assessment received by the Department, around 3,800 farmers and over 14,000 hectares of farm land were affected by the typhoon.

The DA assured to provide the affected farmers with seedlings to recover from their losses after the typhoon destroyed palay, corn and other high value crops in their areas.

Meanwhile, the DA has P250 million in Quick Response Fund which is readily available for rehabilitation of farm lands affected by the typhoon.

The said amount is apart from the P65-million fund under the Survival Recovery or SURE Program of the Agriculture Credit Policy Council.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, for its part, also assured to pay for the damaged crops.  – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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