MANILA—A portion of the P19.6-billion calamity fund should be immediately released to help areas in northern Luzon hardest hit by Typhoon Ompong, Senator Grace Poe said Saturday.
In a statement, Poe said delivering aid to the Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera and the Ilocos regions is essential because these are the top producers of grain and vegetables in the country.
“If you combine the agricultural area of the three regions, which is about 835,012 hectares, then you are talking about a substantial area critical to our food supply, and which gives livelihood to millions of farmers,” Poe said.
"If Cagayan, Ilocos and Cordillera do not plant, the nation goes hungry."
Poe added that the government should also make use of the P7.6 billion disaster quick response fund, which is distributed to 10 agencies.
"Para masiguro na ang tulong ay kasing bilis ng bagyo, dapat magkaroon ng one-stop shop processing and approval center sa Cagayan Valley mismo for all Calamity Fund requests, para ‘di na kailangang lumuwas ang mga (local government unit), na busy sa relief operations, sa Manila,” she said.
Ompong, the strongest typhoon so far to hit the Philippines this year, left a trail of devastation in northern Luzon, ripping roofs off homes, damaging other structures and destroying crops.