“Hindi na kakayanin ng ating mga magsasaka ang panibagong dagok ng kawalan ng tubig. Pagkatapos nilang malugi dahil sa mataas na presyo ng langis na ginagamit nila sa water pump at patubig, ngayon naman ay wala na talagang tubig na dadaloy sa kanilang mga pananim. Kailangang kumilos agad ang pamahalaan dahil merong mga batas na pwedeng tumulong sa mga magsasaka at kanilang mga pamilya.”

This was the statement of Otso Diretso senatorial candidate Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada as he called on the local government units and the Department of Agriculture to work together to use the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) to give aid to the farmers and their families.

The PSF is a special fund in the National Treasury, created through Republic Act 10174 that was authored by Tañada when he was still the Representative of the 4th District of Quezon in the House of Representatives. The fund intends to finance adaptation programs and projects to address the harmful impact of drought, flooding and other extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The LGUs with the participation of farmers and other affected sectors were supposed to come up with adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change.

“The farmers’ losses are mounting. The agricultural sector is among those that are severely affected by the El Niño we are experiencing now. The PSF is in every way, an empowerment fund and should serve its purpose. The role of the legislators is to craft laws and it is the responsibility of the executive to implement it. How is the DA going to address the problem?” Tañada lamented.

In the beginning of each fiscal year the PSF’s fund balance should be one billion pesos that the communities can access by submitting project proposals for consideration by the PSF board. If by the end of the fiscal year, only half a billion worth of projects are approved and disbursed by the Board and Secretariat, then Congress, thru the GAA will put incremental fund by allocating half a billion to bring back the fund balance to P1 billion pesos the following year.

PSF ensures that there is money for farmers and other vulnerable sectors should they be affected by crises, like typhoons and drought so that they can adapt and recover.

“Tulad ng nabanggit ko na noon, ang mga sitwasyong tulad nito ay nangangailangan ng preparation, vision, at foresight. Nabasa natin ang magiging takbo ng kapaligiran at panahon. Nakita natin na darating ang araw na lubhang kakailanganin natin ang higit pang pagkakapit-bisig. Ang pagsusulong ko ng PSF noong 2011 ay bahagi ng pakikipagkapit-bisig at pagkapit sa inyo dahil kailangan natin ang isa’t isa. Nananawagan ako sa ating mga lider sa mga komunidad na aralin ang batas na ito at gamitin upang mas maging handa tayo sa mga delubyong dulot ng pagbabago ng klima. Ang kahandaan ay nag-uumpisa sa mga komunidad nagtutulungan, hindi sa mga mamamayang nagsasarili at nagkakanya-kanya,” Tanada added.