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Piñol proposes P30-B rehab fund for agriculture sector

The newly appointed Agriculture secretary is proposing to create a P30-billion recovery fund for the sector to be used in times of calamities.

"I'm proposing a P30-billion additional funding for the rehabilitation of the farming and fisheries sector so that it will be able to recover right away," incoming Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday.

The Agriculture chief noted the assistance to farmers will come in the form of fertilizer and other or farm inputs.

"In the case of the fisheries sector, livelihood programs will be given for fisherfolk affected by the warming of the waters," he said.

Piñol noted the fund will happen immediately, saying he is going to make the proposal to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting with other Cabinet secretaries on June 15.

"I have to ask the incoming Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez where to source it, but I already told him I need P30 billion for the rehabilitation of Philippine agriculture and fishery."

Piñol cited the bad performance of the agriculture sector in the first quarter of 2016 because of the El Niño, which prompted to see the immediate need for an additional rehabilitation fund.

In the first three months of the year, agriculture output fell by 4.4 percent. It was the fourth consecutive decline since the second quarter of 2015.

Piñol said he made it clear to Dominguez that the agriculture sector would have a tough time recovering from the calamity if no assistance funds would be released. – VDS, GMA News