TANGUB, Misamis Occidental – Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino reiterated his appeal to increase the calamity funds given to the local government units (LGUS) especially those adversely affected by the El Nino.
On the other hand, another HNP candidate, Sen. Sonny Angara, proposed that farmers hit by the El Nino should be offered jobs in the Build, Build, Build projects.
During the campaign sortie held in Sinanduloy Cultural Center, Tolentino warned the lack of water supply, as caused by long dry spell, would cause diseases like sore eyes, measles, skin disease and others.
“Hanggang June pa natin mararanasan itong El Nino kaya dapat habang maaga pa maglagay na tayo ng programa para hindi lumala ang epekto,” Tolentino said.
In this time of crisis, Tolentino reiterated his proposal to have a separate department that will handle and focus on quick response.
“I am calling for the creation of Department of Disaster Management na siyang mangangasiwa tuwing may krisis at kalamidad. Ito na din ang bahala sa rehabilitation. Parang magiging trabaho naman ng LGU ay ang relief operation,” Tolentino, a former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
To date, the damage of El Nino to the agricultural sector is P4.35 billion.
For his part, Angara asked the government to look into the possibility of providing provisional employment to drought-stricken farmers and farm workers under the Build, Build, Build program to help them deal with the temporary loss of income or livelihood due to the El Niño phenomenon.
“Habang naghihintay tayo ng kongkreto at pangmatagalang solusyon sa tagtuyot na taun-taon nating nararanasan, mahalagang mabigyan natin ng pansamantalang tulong ang ating mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid na kasalukuyang nakararanas ng matinding gutom sanhi ng labis na tagtuyot sa kanilang lugar,” Angara said.
“Many of our farmers and farm workers have already started to look for jobs in construction sites to earn a living after losing their crops to the ongoing dry spell. I hope they can be accommodated in the Build, Build, Build program,”he added.
The Department of Labor had announced that the government would need 800,000 to 1 million construction workers to fill in the labor gaps of its priority infrastructure program, where a total of 75 flagship projects with a combined total of $36 billion in investments are to be put up in various parts of the country.
These workers are needed for the construction of six airports, nine railways, three bus rapid transits, four seaports and 32 roads and bridges in Negros Oriental, Leyte, Cebu Bohol and Misamis Occidental, among others.
He made the appeal after several provinces and cities in the country have been placed under state of calamity due to the impact of El Niño.