Hindi nga? NEDA says gov’t winning war vs El Nino
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said government has been “fairly successful in mitigating the impact of El Nino, particularly in ensuring sufficiency in supply of food and keeping food prices stable.”
However, NEDA, in a statement, admitted there are some gaps that need to be filled up soonest.
NEDA issued the statement the week after farmers who were seeking relief from drought were violently dispersed in Kidapawan City, resulting in the death of three persons and the injury of more than 100.
NEDA said it mitigated the impacts of the El Nino through irrigation, distribution of seeds, timely importation and price freeze in areas that declared state of calamity.
As drought scorched many provinces, it said the prices of food, particularly rice, have been low and stable.
It said in March, rice prices were lower compared to the previous year and have been “declining consistently” since October 2015.
It also said the price of vegetables, while elevated since November 2015, has trended down after peaking in January 2016, declining by 2.9 percent in March 2016 from the previous month.
“Supply and buffer stock management is being done well with timely purchases,” it added.
NEDA said there were no reported breakout of diseases and epidemic, despite the lack of water, adding that it is not discounting there could still be health issues in some places.
NEDA admitted there are areas that are feeling the brunt of the El Nino, and it is where the role of LGUs is “very crucial.”
“We are certainly bothered by the fact that there are people who still go hungry. There could be areas that are not yet being reached by government interventions,” it said.
It said while food and food packs are enough, the challenge is to distribute them more efficiently so that they could reach the affected families “in a timely fashion.” For this, NEDA said coordination with LGUs need to be strengthened.
NEDA said support for the farmers should be increased to augment their incomes, and programs like cash-for-work and emergency employment must be accelerated.
“We need to improve coordination within government from national to local levels and also communication with affected families. It is also very important that affected families know about the situation and know how to access government programs that are already in place. For this, hotlines have been established through 0920-8790924 for Smart and 09950383-2393 for Globe,” it also said.
NEDA assured that government is doing its best to address the needs of affected areas and families, considering that they are among the poorest and most vulnerable sectors.