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Northern Samar plunges deeper into poverty—solon

Northern Samar, seen by some economists as over a barrel, has been plunged deeper into poverty as it was hit by a double whammy—low copra prices and floods brought by Typhoon “Usman,” which killed at least 68 people, a House leader said on Wednesday.

Aangat Tayo Party-list Rep. Harlin Neil Abayon  III made the statement as Usman’s heavy rains caused the worst flooding in 30 years in the province.

At the moment, Northern Samar needs potable water and portable water purification equipment, he said.

Abayon, a deputy majority floor leader, said Samar had been suffering from an “economic drought” because of low copra and coconut prices in the Philippines and abroad.

The situation, Abayon said, was exacerbated by the onslaught of Typhoon Usman.

“I am asking the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management to tap the $500-million World Bank disaster funds to finance the recovery of Northern Samar and Samar Island from Usman,” Abayon said.

“I also ask the Senate to please expedite passage of the Department of Disaster Resilience bill. The House approved its version of the bill last October 1 and transmitted that to the Senate on October 2.

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos has extended her sympathies to the thousands of displaced families in the wake of tropical storm Usman.

Marcos said her province of Ilocos Norte, which was previously battered by Typhoon “Ompong,” stood ready to extend assistance to the Bicol region which bore the brunt of the tropical storm that resulted in landslides and flooding.

“We feel for our brothers and sisters in the Bicol region and Eastern Visayas who have lost loved ones and suffered damages to properties due to tropical storm Usman. This is a time for bayanihan. We will do what we can to help our kababayans in need. Ilocanos will be sending our donations ASAP,” she said in a statement.

“We in Ilocos Norte know first hand what it is like to suffer from natural calamities. Typhoon Ompong left behind at least P14.27 billion in agricultural damage, of which rice production accounted for more than 60 percent of the losses. It is not just our farmers who suffered the brunt of these damages but all of us,” Marcos added.

Although Usman has since moved westward away from the country, many affected areas were still experiencing seasonal rains, hampering rescue and recovery efforts, and with at least 30,000 families or about 130,000 people affected.

Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon have been placed under a state of calamity to ensure that funds can be released easily to assist those in need and prices of basic goods and prime commodities can be controlled.

Estimates of damage done to crops rose to P195.36 million as Sunday, the Department of Agriculture reported.

Some P177.41 million of this was on palay crops alone, with 7,352 metric tons in potential volume production loss—affecting 8,844 hectares farmland in the provinces of Quezon, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Samar.

Topics: Northern Samar , Typhoon Usman , Harlin Neil Abayon III , Department of Budget and Management , Department of Finance
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