Sen. Escudero to DA: craft viable insurance schemes for farmers in typhoon-stricken areas

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero has called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to step up its efforts in encouraging farmers to insure their lands and crops to protect them against losses brought about by typhoons and natural calamities.

Several typhoons in the past weeks have destroyed large swaths of agricultural lands in the country, and Escudero saw the need to insure more farmlands and products in areas battered by severe tropical storms.

Escudero put to task the DA to encourage more farmers to insure their lands and farm products with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), a government-owned and -controlled corporation tasked to provide insurance protection against loss of crops, livestock and agricultural assets due to natural calamities, plants pests and disease, among others.

According to the senator, while new insurance schemes are being adapted by PCIC in some areas in the country, many farmers, particularly self-financed farmers, are not keen on availing insurance coverage.

This is the reason, he added, why the DA should craft viable insurance schemes for all farmers, especially for those in provinces usually hit by typhoons like Eastern Visayas, the Bicol region and some areas in Southern Luzon.

Escudero cited a recent agreement among the local government unit in Negros Occidental, a farmer’s group and PCIC where in a certain percentage of the insurance premium is shouldered by the local government, which can be replicated in other areas.

“Pwedeng maghati-hati (sa pagitan) ng local government at may counterpart rin ang farmers. Ang rough computation namin sa mga palayan at sugarcane farms ay humigit kumulang P800 to P840 per year ang premium para ma-cover more or less P20,000 per hectare para sa magsasaka,” Escudero said.

Escudero also mentioned the insurance scheme he proposed to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Government Service Insurance System, which placed under insurance coverage school buildings in Eastern Visayas and Bicol frequently visited by typhoons, to make sure there is enough funds for immediate repair after the onslaught of typhoon or other calamities.

“Bilang estimate sa insurance, noong pina-insure ko dati ang Regions 5, 8, Quirino, Aurora, Quezon, Isabela, Cagayan na nasa eastern seaboard ng bansa, noong na-cover namin ng insurance lahat ng school buildings diyan, P100 million lamang ang ginastos namin. Ang school building repair fund ng DepEd ay P3 billion. So wala pang 4 percent iyon ng school building fund. Mako-cover na ng insurance ang madalas na tinatamaan ng bagyo,” Escudero explained.

He said that with more farmers getting insurance coverage, many would be protected. “Pag may crop insurance, tamaan man ng kalamidad, peste, o baha, makababawi sila at makababangon muli at hindi mababaon sa utang ng mahabang panahon.”#