DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said there is no need to release the 15,00 sacks of rice the Davao City Council has approved for the starving farmers of North Cotabato because no less than Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said there is enough rice for the farmers.
Announcing that the farm sector has in fact hit its target despite the El Niño, Alcala was quoted as saying that, “Despite the ongoing El Niño, the agriculture sector remained resilient.”
He also said that the damage due to the drought has remained minimal.
Knowing our Mayor, it is apparent that he is calling Alcala’s bluff and is thus implicitly telling the Department of Agriculture to deliver what it claims to have achieved and also what it has prepared for El Niño.
Let’s just keep our eyes and hearts open, knowing the track record for helping people in need that the present administration has. That is the same track that the mayor is following when he said, “"Dili kay bawi, wala pa man nahatag na (It’s not taking the assistance back since it has not yet been given). It's an authority for the mayor to give, but Alcala said that there is no shortage."
"Nobody knows when the drought will end so the city might just reserve the money for further use," the mayor adds.
Meaning, it will be there and the city will always be on stand-by to help. It was good that private individuals worked as one to send rice donations as soon as possible knowing that any help from the mayor will need legislative action, and yes, can be construed as politicking, as North Cotabato Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza did. It’s always heartening to realize that we are a city always ready to help, never mind if other people may sneer at us for our jovial ways. It’s their bad vibes, not ours.
Anyway, as we all know and as the mayor reminded us, nobody knows when the drought will end. The last advisory issued by the US Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society says, “A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with close to a 50 percent chance for La Niña conditions to develop by the fall.”
Spring ends on June 19, 2016 and summer follows. While 2016 Fall starts on September 22, 2016. That is a long wait yet for farmers who are already starving since the start of the year. Let’s just keep our ears open for updates on farmer situations so that we all can be able to help where help is needed.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 11, 2016.
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