• ‘YOLANDA’ INFRA, CROP DAMAGE HITS P22B

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    A typhoon victim looks at her devastated waterfront community from the window of a partial standing building in Tacloban City. Experts say it will cost billions of dollars and take years to revive communities that were flattened by Super Typhoon Yolanda. AFP PHOTO

    A typhoon victim looks at her devastated waterfront community from the window of a partial standing building in Tacloban City. Experts say it will cost billions of dollars and take years to revive communities that were flattened by Super Typhoon Yolanda. AFP PHOTO

    The damage caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda on infrastructure and agriculture has reached P22 billion, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

    Damage to agriculture was estimated at P10.7 billion, while damage to infrastructure rose to P11.9 billion.

    The death toll remained at 5,235, with 23,501 injured and 1,613 missing.

    The rice sector suffered the biggest blow at P2.38 billion, followed by corn, P295.9 million. The coconut sector lost P1.51 billion, and the banana industry suffered losses of P431.2 million.

    To revive agriculture activities and provide income to farmers affected by the typhoon, India-based agricultural input manufacturer Prathista International Corp. committed to give P13.5 million worth of organic fertilizers to the Philippine government.

    Prathista President K.V.S.S. Sairam said that they would provide the Department of Agriculture (DA) with 100 metric tons of Aishwarya, a balanced nutritional fertilizer.

    He added that they are ready to provide all technical assistance in the application of Aishwarya product for DA personnel, who will manage and coordinate the distribution to affected farmers.

    “We know that the damage is huge, but [we]wish to support the DA office with this Prathista product,” Sairam said. “We sincerely hope that this [will help]poor farmers to revive their agriculture activities and income opportunities,” he added.

    Company officials led by Prathista managing director Beatriz Dar, met with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Undersecretary Dante Delima of the National Rice Program to discuss key projects, including the setting up of a manufacturing facility in Philippines which will produce third generation organic nutritional products for crops, livestock and aquaculture based on local produce like low-grade rice, corn, and molasses.

    Dar said that the 3G organic fertilizer products may also be tapped by government in its soil rejuvenation program, a partnership between DA’s Bureau of

    Agricultural Research (BAR) and International Crops Research Institute (Icrisat).

    On the other hand, thousands joined the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s (NAPC) Yolanda 3km run around the Quezon City Memorial Circle early Sunday.

    NAPC Secretary Jose Eliseo Rocamora said various organizations and government agencies, including children, senior citizens, and PWDs joined and even donated valuable amounts for the cause.

    “We are raising funds to help [the victims]start building [their homes]away from the danger areas [so they would be]better prepared to face the frequent onslaughts of more severe typhoons and extreme weather,” Rocamora said.

    The fun run was a collaboration of the NAPC, Habitat for Humanity Foundation Philippines, Alliance of Seven, Operation Compassion, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

    Habitat’s Gina de los Reyes-Virtusio, group manager for Philippines Resource Development and Communications, said they will focus on the rehabilitation program in Eastern Visayas, along with the building of new shelters in Bohol and Zamboanga.

    For his part, Marikina Vice Mayor Jose Fabian Cadiz, representative of the Alliance of Seven (group of Metro Manila mayors), said their city is opening its doors to the typhoon victims.

    “Most of the victims who fled their devastated towns have no one to turn to in the metro, so along with the other members of A7, we are offering them our public spaces,” Cadiz said.

    PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas on the other hand said her group The supported the run “to help focus the attention on the plight of journalists, media workers, and media agencies that have also been displaced by the super typhoon.”

    The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported that at least four media workers died and six others remain missing and a number of media agencies had been rendered inoperable in most of the affected provinces.

    Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay urged the Filipino people to stand united and discard politics as the country recovers from the wrath of the typhoon.

    Binay issued the call in his speech before the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate during their induction ceremonies in Bacolod City, asking them to “rise above partisanship and the narrow, emasculating confines of politics, and render service to those in need, regardless of political affiliations.”

    He also stressed that while rehabilitation and response efforts continue, the government, academe, NGOs, and the business sector should focus on climate change, disaster resilience, and response policies for preemptive measures.

    “Yolanda has issued the sternest and most tragic of warnings. And the chilling truth is that it may only herald the coming of larger and fiercer typhoons,” Binay said.

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