Bam Aquino says government should purchase 'storm-damaged' rice

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2018 05:27 PM | Updated as of Sep 18 2018 06:22 PM

Locals dry palay among toppled electrical posts in Gonzaga town, Cagayan a day after Typhoon Ompong devastated northern Luzon, September 16, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government should buy "storm-damaged" rice from areas devastated by Typhoon Ompong to help farmers, Senator Bam Aquino said Tuesday.

In a statement, Aquino said President Rodrigo Duterte should urge the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy rice damaged during the typhoon, saying this has been done before. 

In 2016, the government under the administration of the senator's cousin then President Benigno Aquino III bought storm-damaged rice from farmers in Cagayan, Ilocos, and Central Luzon after the regions were ravaged by Typhoon Lawin.

Doing this again would give farmers a chance to recoup their capital used for purchasing rice seeds, fertilizer and other inputs, the senator said.

Typhoon Ompong barreled across Northern Luzon over the weekend, leaving behind some P14 billion in damage to farm output and infrastructure, government figures showed.

As of September 18, damage to rice crops was estimated at P8.97 billion, the Department of Agriculture said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said P1.7 billion was earmarked for food packs and relief assistance for those affected by the typhoon. 

The government has yet to disclose how much would be allotted for efforts to help the agricultural sector in affected provinces.