Agaton damaged crops worth P725.2M

BURIED ALIVE Search and recovery teams search Barangay Pilar in Abuyog town, Leyte to find people buried by landslides. – Photo courtesy of the 802nd Infantry Battalion

Damage to the agricultural sector from Tropical Storm “Agaton” (international name: Megi) rose further to P725.2 million on Monday morning, the Ministry of Agriculture (DA) reported.

According to the latest bulletin, the weather disruption has impacted the livelihoods of 19,424 farmers in Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) and Caraga.

Agaton destroyed 41,580 tons of agricultural produce on 17,925 hectares of agricultural land.

“Commodities affected are rice, corn, high-value crops and livestock. These values ​​are subject to validation,” the prosecutor added.

The rice sector suffered losses of P672.2 million. But the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said it still had minimal impact on the country’s total production, i.e. paddy rice, as the eastern Visayas only produced 5 percent of the annual production.

“It still [has] minimal impact and there is still time to replant if necessary,” Raul Montemayor, national manager of FFF, told the Inquirer in a Viber message.

Other affected commodities include high-value crops (24.7 million pesos), corn (21.1 million pesos), and livestock and poultry (7.2 million pesos).

The Public Prosecutor’s Office is conducting an assessment of the damage and casualties caused by Agaton in the agricultural fisheries sector and is continuously coordinating with affected government agencies, local governments and disaster management offices.

The necessary interventions and assistance would be made available to affected agricultural producers, she added.

Separately, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) that power transmission services in Bohol are now restored following the restoration of the 138 kV 2 Ormoc-Maasin line and the 138 kV Maasin-Ubay line connecting Leyte to Bohol.

Also power lines

The NGCP said emergency recovery systems were installed to bypass the towers of Ormoc-Maasin Lines 1 and 2, which were damaged by landslides caused by the Holy Week tropical storm.

Meanwhile, search and recovery teams continue digging in the mounds and rubble in landslide-hit villages in Abuyog Town and Baybay City, Leyte, eight days after Agaton loosened the mountainsides with its incessant rains.

Colonel Noel Vestuir, commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, said they would continue operations in hopes of locating any missing persons.

“Until there is an order to stop, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will continue their SRR (Search, Recovery and Retrieval),” Vestuir said.

On Monday morning, Vestuir said they found three bodies in Barangay Kantagnos, believed to be the worst-hit village in Baybay.

The recovery brought Baybay’s total death toll to 120.

The other villages affected in Baybay were Barangays Mailhi, Kantagnos, Bunga, Maypatag, Pangasugan, Candadam, San Agustin, Zone 21, Hicgop, Can-ipa, Igang, Palhi, Sto. Rosario, Gacat, and Inopacan. INQ

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