Rama urges direct farmer feedback; Agri chief dares Alcover

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. Photo from Cebu City PIO

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has encouraged farmers who feel neglected by the City Government amid the El Niño phenomenon to directly voice their concerns to his office.

Meanwhile, City Agriculture Department (CAD) chief Joelito Baclayon openly challenged Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr. to present farmers claiming they have not received assistance

Rama, during the Cebu City Hall’s online program “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Thursday, April 11, 2024, invited the city’s farmers to report to his office and share their grievances.

“Abli na ang opisina sa mayor. Adtoa ko didto (The Office of the Mayor is open. You can visit me there),” he said.

Although he decided to retain Baclayon in office, Rama urged the latter to address Alcover’s allegation regarding his purported failure to address agricultural issues.

On Thursday, Baclayon challenged Alcover to present any farmers who allege that they have not received assistance from the City Government.

“Kinsa man na mag-uumaha nga iyang gipang-ingon ug gipaminaw? Mag-uuma pod nato nga dili tinuod pod nga mag-uuma?” Baclayon said over Cebu City Hall’s online program on Thursday, April 11, addressing Alcover.

(Who exactly is he referring to and listening to? Are they really farmers?)

Alcover earlier urged Baclayon to step down, alleging the latter of not doing anything to address the plight of the farmers amid El Niño.

Baclayon, however, questioned Alcover’s allegations, saying his office had not received any complaints from the city’s 10,970 registered farmers.

SunStar Cebu tried to get Alcover’s side through Facebook Messenger but he had yet to respond as of press time.

Casimero Pilones, head of the Alliance of Cebu City Farmers, earlier claimed he had not received any assistance this year and said farmers are in a dire situation amid water scarcity.

Baclayon said CAD organized farmers into three groups to address their concerns and verify their identities as genuine farmers.

He said CAD has also conducted caravans to educate and prepare these groups for potential El Niño conditions, assisting them in registering with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. to insure their crops and livestock against natural disasters or disease outbreaks.

The City, he said, established a “food security loan program” to aid registered farmers during droughts. He added that CAD collaborated with the National Irrigation Administration to address irrigation issues and provided equipment like water hoses, drums and tanks to help conserve water.

He said affected farmers used this equipment for rainwater catchments or fish tanks to diversify their yields. / AML


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