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Disaster funds to fast-track aid for coco farmers hit by ‘Odette’

TOPPLED. The destruction caused by Typhoon Odette at a coconut farm in Limasawa, Southern Leyte in this Dec. 27, 2021 photo. Over 10,000 trees were damaged by the typhoon, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority. (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

MANILA – The government will fast-track the distribution of assistance to coconut farmers hit hard by Typhoon Odette with the recent approval of the Coconut Debris Management Plan (CDMP) amounting to PHP331,003,192.

President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-signal for the release of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council funds for the Philippine Coconut Authority’s proposed CMDP.

The CDMP includes the implementation of the Shelter Assistance and Recovery Program for typhoon-hit communities last December.

In a statement on Sunday, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded the approval of the disaster funds.

“Aside from the said benefit, it will also allow the government to expedite the disposal of affected coconut trees that pose a hazard to health and the environment by converting them into coco lumbers,” he said.

The CDMP is consistent with Presidential Directive No. 2022-011, or the conversion of fallen trees into reusable housing materials for Typhoon Odette survivors.

Under the plan, 11,573 chainsaw operators will be hired through a cash-for-work scheme to be simultaneously implemented in the provinces within Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga Region.

Go likewise renewed his call for the passage of Senate Bill No. 205 or the Disaster Resilience Act, filed in 2019, to establish the Department of Disaster Resilience as well as to address the bureaucratic challenges that undermine the government’s ability to better respond to disasters and the effects of climate change.

He also emphasized the need to pursue disaster resilience measures like Senate Bill No. 1228 or the Mandatory Evacuation Center Act that will ensure that disaster-affected individuals will get temporary shelters, promote their social well-being, and help them recover.

Both bills are pending before the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation. (PNA)

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