Officials from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will be invited to the provincial board’s next inquiry hour to provide updates on programs and assistance available to fishermen and coconut farmers whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by Typhoon Odette.

The invitation for national officials of the three agencies to appear before the provincial board’s question hour was suggested by board member David Francis Ponce de Leon to help families engaged in fishing and coconut farming in northern Palawan, according to a post by the Provincial Information Office (PIO) on Thursday.

Ponce de Leon cited that in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, Landbank, BFAR, and PCA offered programs to help victims in the agriculture sector.

“I remember, pagkatapos po ng Yolanda, we invited Landbank at mayroon silang mga programs, specifically for coconut farmers and also mga fishermen, kasi ‘yon ang mga na-damaged,” he said.

“I’m just wondering kaya gusto ko silang i-invite, are there new programs or loans na pwedeng ma-avail ng ating mga coconut farmers and also fishermen? I was fortunate enough to meet ang ating assistant regional director ng BFAR, he is also from Coron at may mga nabanggit siyang mga programs na makaka-avail ‘yong ating mga fishermen in times of calamity,” Ponce de Leon added.

For his part, board member Ryan Maminta advised inviting provincial agriculturist Dr. Romeo Cabungcal to deliver updated data on Odette’s agriculture sector impacts.

According to the PCA, the local coconut industry has lost half a billion pesos and is working quickly to put its response plan in place to help growers in Odette’s hardest-hit areas.

It reported on January 6 that it is working rapidly to provide incentives, fertilizers, and seed nuts, to the most affected coconut growers in Palawan, notably in Puerto Princesa City and northern municipalities.

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