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Gov’t urged to provide weather-trigged insurance for typhoon victims

LAWIN’S VICTIM — In Libag Norte, Tuguegarao City, a family spreads out clothes to dry on the roof of their house after it was flattened by Typhoon Lawin. The storm whipped up winds in excess of 200 kilometers as it roared across Northern Luzon on Wednesday. (Ali Vicoy)

LAWIN’S VICTIM — In Libag Norte, Tuguegarao City, a family spreads out clothes to dry on the roof of their house after it was flattened by Typhoon Lawin. (Ali Vicoy) Manila Bulletin

MANILA — A senator on Friday urged the government to adopt a weather-trigged insurance and a sustained release of food, farm input and financial grants to those affected by super typhoon “Lawin”.

Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said that agencies such as the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Agriculture (DA) could adopt the insurance.

Zubiri said that the scheme would allow farmers and fisherfolk to be spared by the difficulty of filing for claims with the PCIC since the insurance office would inform the farmer and fishermen in advance before the bad weather event.

Even before the typhoon or drought comes, Zubiri said that the PCIC would tell farmers and fisherfolks that they were qualified for insurance payments.

He explained that after a typhoon, when communication and transportation systems are down, it makes it difficult or impossible to file a crop insurance claim.

“This is one of the missing links in disaster-preparedness. Storms and droughts have become fiercer occuring in new patterns and new areas. The PCIC will have to be pro-active and abandon old ways wherein they wait for the farmers and fisherfolks to file a claim,” Zubiri said.

“Now they act in advance thus, the victims receive insurance payments earlier,” he added.

The senator also recalled that the National Academy of Science and Technology-DOST has studied and recommended the weather-triggered insurance scheme as part of Global Warming and Climate Change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

“As often happens, when the media has stopped reporting on the disaster and damages wrought, many national government agencies slow down on their rehabilitation efforts forgetting that people need specific long-term aid,” Zubiri said.

“Victims need food and non-food aid. Food aid must be for a long enough time to tide them over this cropping cycle and up to the next. Many farmers can only plant when the weather is right for their land preparation, repair of irrigation canals, replacement of farm equipment and farm animals and many more important tasks,” he added.