MANILA, Nov 1 (Mabuhay) — Damage and losses to agriculture caused by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng have reached P1.33 billion, the latest estimates of the Department of Agriculture (DA) have shown.

The DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operations Center recorded damage of P1.33 billion as of 3 p.m. on Monday, October 31, up from P49.54 million as of Sunday morning.

Aerial photo shows damages to agriculture caused by Tropical Storm Paeng reaches P1.33 billion. (MNS photo)

The latest bulletin covered production losses of 66,693 metric tons (MT) and damage to 64,607 hectares of agricultural areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, the Bicol Region, Western Visayas, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and Soccsksargen.

There were 53,849 farmers and fisherfolk who have been affected.

Most of the damage was recorded in rice with a total value loss of P1.23 billion.

Losses in high-value crops were recorded at P60 million, followed by fisheries at P16 million, corn at P5.59 million, and livestock and poultry at P1.92 million.

Damage to agricultural infrastructure was estimated at P20.6 million, covering a Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, a Regional Fruit Nursery, and an Agricultural Research and Experiment Station.

“The DA continuously coordinates with concerned NGAs (national government agencies), LGUs (local government units), and other DRRM-related offices for the impact of the tropical cyclones, as well as available resources for interventions and assistance,” the DA bulletin read.

The DA said assistance is available for distribution to affected farmers and fishers, including rice, corn, vegetable seeds, and drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry.

It said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) also had fingerlings and assistance for affected fishers.

Those affected may avail of the P25,000 loan from the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), along with the Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the rehabilitation of affected areas.

Paeng re-intensified into a Severe Tropical Storm earlier on Monday, with several areas still under Signal No. 1.

It is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday afternoon or evening but is followed by Tropical Storm Queenie, which PAGASA said was unlikely to directly affect the country until Tuesday.  (MNS)