‘Give Rody emergency power’

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Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol on Monday urged local officials to support his call for Congress to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers in times of typhoons and natural disaster to extend assistance to affected farmers.

Piñol, in a radio interview Monday, said Duterte should be given emergency powers in times of disasters because without them, local officials will have to ask for assistance from the DA which will need to follow protocol.

This will include validation of the requests, endorsement to the budget department, that would require another round of verifications, before a recommendation is made to the Office of the President.

The Agriculture chief noted that farmers could miss the planting season and fail to replace damaged crops due to delays in the release of the government assistance.

“The interventions should be fast-tracked and our President should be given elbow room to use government funds,” said Piñol. “I ask local officials to support my proposal for Congress to give emergency powers to President Duterte because of the consecutive tragedies that hit our country.”

Typhoon “Ompong” last week left at least P1.8 billion in agricultural damage across Luzon. The same area in September lost P26.7 billion worth of crops and livestock due to typhoon “Rosita”, the DA earlier said.

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