P7-million aid ready for farmers, fishermen affected by Taal eruption: agri dept

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2022 12:42 PM

A handout photo made available by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) shows a coastguard personnel inspecting a fishing boat near the Taal volcano island in Batangas province, March 26, 2022. Villagers living near the volcano were evacuated after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) placed Taal Volcano under Alert Level 3 after a series of short phreatomagmatic bursts. PCG/Handout/EPA-EFE 
A handout photo made available by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) shows a coastguard personnel inspecting a fishing boat near the Taal volcano island in Batangas province, March 26, 2022. Villagers living near the volcano were evacuated after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) placed Taal Volcano under Alert Level 3 after a series of short phreatomagmatic bursts. PCG/Handout/EPA-EFE 


MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it was ready to distribute assistance to farmers and fishermen affected by the recent eruption of the Taal Volcano.

The agency's regional office has P7 million on hand for aid that will be given in the form of seeds and fish fingerlings, said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa. 

“Naglaan ng P7 million na handang ipamigay, gaya ng 1,401 bags ng inbred seeds, 500 kilograms ng glutinous corn, 250 kilograms ng iba't ibang klase ng binhi ng gulay, 1.5 million na tilapia fingerlings," he said in a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. 

(We allotted P7 million for aid, such as 1,401 bags of inbred seeds, 500 kilograms of glutinous corn, 250 kilograms of various vegetable seeds, and 1.5 million tilapia fingerlings.) 

But De Mesa noted the DA had yet to receive reports of damage to agriculture and fisheries due to Taal's unrest. But some 1,561 fishermen and farmers have evacuated in Agoncillo, Batangas, he said. 

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Should there be a more disruptive volcanic eruption, De Mesa said the agency still had P200 million in quick response funds it could use for additional assistance. 

Taal Volcano was placed under Alert Level 3 on Saturday morning after its "main crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst," with plumes reaching as high as 1,500 meters, the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology said.

Cavite and Batangas, which are affected by the Taal volcano activity, are among the main suppliers of coffee in the country. 

The lake on which Taal sits is the third largest in the country and provides livelihood to thousands of fisherfolk.