LOSSES sustained by the agriculture sector from Typhoon Juan have climbed to P7.55 billion as of Thursday, according to figures released by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
This, as the death toll rose to 19, and the total damage estimates—including public infrastructure—provided by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Monitoring Council (NDRRMC) stood at P8.9 billion.
Joel Rudinas, Agriculture undersecretary for operations, said the palay sector in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon suffered the biggest damage at P5.35 billion. Total palay crops damaged reached 314,577 metric tons (MT).
“The loss is still biggest in rice at P5.35 billion, followed by high-value commercial crops [HVCC] at P613.49 million, and corn at P348.42 million. The damage to fisheries is placed at P49.94 million, while the estimate for livestock is P4.75 million,” Rudinas told reporters in a press briefing in Quezon City.
Of the 18 provinces affected by the storm, the DA noted that Pangasinan and Isabela suffered the biggest losses, estimated at P2.22 billion and P1.24 billion, respectively.
The total cropland affected is 305,028 hectares in the four Luzon regions. Provinces affected were Ifugao, Apayao, Mountain Province, Benguet, Kalinga and Abra in CAR; Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union in Ilocos region; Isabela and Cagayan in Cagayan Valley; Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Aurora, Pampanga, Tarlac and Bulacan in Central Luzon.
A total of 285,447 hectares of rice lands were affected, resulting in the loss of some 314,577 MT of palay worth P5.35 billion from 17 provinces.
The areas hit by the typhoon represent 15.34 percent of the 1.86 million hectares of expected harvest area for the fourth quarter of the year. The production loss of 314,577 MT represents 4.5 percent of the forecast paddy-rice production of almost 7 million metric tons (MMT) in October to December.
The DA also disclosed that 15,474 hectares of corn fields were affected, resulting in a loss of 25,812 MT of corn grains. Of the area affected, 105 hectares have no chance of recovery and 15,369 hectares could still recover.
Twelve provinces lost corn crops, namely, Ifugao, Isabela, Cagayan, Apayao, Kalinga, Aurora, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Pampanga and Tarlac.
The areas hit by the typhoon represent 2.4 percent of the 645,695 hectares of harvestable area in the fourth quarter. Lost production of 25,812 MT is 1.61 percent of the 1.6-MMT forecast production for the period.
The typhoon also affected 4,107 hectares of HVCC, resulting in the loss of some 17,583 MT of vegetables and fruits (mainly mango and banana) in 12 provinces of the four affected regions.
Also, a total of P4.75 million in terms of lost livestock (swine, goat, cattle) and poultry (duck, chicken, turkey, geese) was reported in the provinces of Apayao, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan and Pampanga.
The fisheries sector lost P49.94 million worth of fishery products. A total of 208 hectares of fishponds and 98 units fish cages and five payao were damaged in Cagayan and Isabela.
A total of 5.17 million pieces of fingerlings/fry/juvenile and 365 MT of marketable fish products, including tilapia, siganids, bangus and vannamei shrimps, were destroyed by the typhoon.
“The typhoon has damaged a great number of facilities in the affected regions. The cost of damaged irrigation facilities is estimated at P1.18 billion,” the DA said.
Rudinas said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is leading the preparation of a rehabilitation plan to recoup the losses of farmers.
The plan involves the provision of certified palay seeds at 1 bag per hectare to severely affected rice farmers. For those farms that were not so severely damaged, the plan is to subsidize the half of the cost of one bag of certified seeds.
The DA is still “fine-tuning” the rehabilitation plan together with concerned local government units.
Death toll rises to 19
The death toll from Supertyphoon Juan rose to 19 people on Thursday even as disaster officials decided to remain on red alert as two tropical depressions might enter the country in the next days.
Benito Ramos, executive director of the NDRRMC, said they decided to keep up their alert to prepare for the possible effects of the two upcoming storms.
“We are closely monitoring and coordinating with all other agencies,” Ramos, also the administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, said.
Weather forecasters said one of the two weather disturbances was monitored on the Marianas Islands, or east of the Philippine Sea; the other one is located 1,800 km northeast of Guam.
On the other hand, the damage to infrastructure and agriculture has already reached a total of P8.9 billion, but is still expected to increase as reports from Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Zambales, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija are yet to be received by the NDRRMC.
The NDRRMC said that a total of 63,450 families, composed of 332,364 persons, were affected by Juan. Of the number, 2,467 families, or 11,236 individuals, remained in 97 evacuation centers in Regions 1, 2 and 3 and CAR.
Ramos said an Air Force C-130 cargo plane carrying relief items reached Cauayan, Isabela, on Thursday and distributed goods to the affected families in Region 2.
He also said their request to the United States for the use of its air assets like Chinook helicopters in the transport and of relief assistance had been approved.
More than P70 million worth of classrooms and other school facilities were damaged by the typhoon, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said they are still waiting for the more extensive damage report to be submitted by the department’s Disaster Risk Management Office-Rapid Damage Assessment Report.
“As of October 21, 12 noon, initial estimated damage cost in schools in Regions 2, 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region has reached P71,214,650. These include damage to classrooms worth P70,411,000, and furniture and learning materials, such as books and computers, worth P803,650,” Luistro said, stressing that the reported damage does not include the Ilocos region.
Meanwhile, 35 schools are being used as evacuation centers by 1,111 families as of the latest report.