THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it distributed P250.25 million worth of assistance to farmers in Bulacan and Rizal who were affected by Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco).

During his visit to Bulacan, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar disbursed P176 million worth of rice seed and fertilizer to the province’s farmers.

Mr. Dar said growers of corn, vegetables, sugarcane, coconut, as well as those in fishing communities, will receive P5,000 in cash and food assistance from the P4.5 billion authorized for distribution by the DA under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II).

The DA said that based on initial reports from the provincial agriculture office, some 10,000 to 20,000 hectares of rice in the area have been submerged.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dar told farmers to start planting early for the dry cropping season to avoid the effects of typhoons.

“Start planting by the second week of December, so you can harvest earlier next year,” Mr. Dar said.

In a visit to Rizal, Mr. Dar distributed P74.25 million worth of aid to typhoon affected farmers.

Farmers’ cooperatives and associations in Teresa, Cardona, Pililla, Rodriguez, San Mateo, Binangonan, Jala-jala, Cainta, Tanay, Taytay, Baras, Morong, and Antipolo City received assistance such as rice seed, corn seed, assorted vegetable seed, fertilizer, and other farm inputs.

Other assistance received by farmers include farm equipment such as tractors, hand tractors and rice transplanters.

According to DA Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa, the Calabarzon provinces (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) have been hit by eight typhoons so far during October and November. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave