A SENATOR has filed a resolution seeking to conduct an inquiry on the state of the Philippine government’s agricultural insurance program to assess its responsiveness to natural calamities and extreme weather changes.
“Crop insurance must be an integral part of the government’s preparedness and risk management plans in the event of droughts and floods due to El Niño and La Niña, and other natural extreme events,” Senate Majority Leader Joel J. Villanueva said in Senate Resolution No. 549.
He said two of the major factors contributing to low agricultural productivity are climate change, regular weather disturbances, and disasters.
Mr. Villanueva cited a 2019 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies indicating that farmers lack awareness of the government’s crop insurance program, noting low availment for coverage from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC).
The House of Representatives approved on March 21 a bill seeking to expand the services of the PCIC by encouraging private sector participation, including cooperatives and farmers’ organizations, to invest in agricultural insurance.
The bill mandates that the PCIC will also cover livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, agroforestry projects, forest plantations and non-crop agricultural assets such as machinery, equipment, transport facilities, and infrastructure.
A similar measure is pending at a Senate committee.
National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said an El Niño occurrence, which will most likely hit the Philippines from July to September, is expected to lower agricultural production.
“The government must ensure the accessibility, availment, and sufficiency of safety nets to protect the livelihood of Filipinos employed in the agricultural sector,” Mr. Villanueva said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said typhoons Karding (international name: Noru) and Paeng (Nalgae) in 2022 caused agricultural damage worth P3.12 billion and P6.4 billion, respectively. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz