DAVAO CITY — ​The Department of Agriculture (DA) ​has blamed local ​government​s, which failed to submit early to ​the​m ​the validation of ​drought affected area​s ​for the delay ​in intervention programs.

Joedel Leliza, El Nino focal person of the DA, disclosed that they ​had advised the LGU​s as early as December last year to conduct the validation of their areas affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

For instance is Davao del Sur, which ​Leliza said ​is the largest affected area ​by the El Niño. Its report submitted only in April posted a total of P84 million damaged ​to ​rice crops.

Leliza said the validation of the area ​”​is our basis for the crafting intervention”.

He requested​ protesting ​farmers ​who put up camp-in in front of the DA office here on Thursday, April 21 that they should not only blame the department “since the whole process is a joint effort”.

“We ​have partnered with provincial offices and municipal agriculture office​ now,” Leliza said, citing communication problem with these offices, ​but he acknowledged that ​the ​there​ were efforts also from the side ​of the municipal offices.

“We have constant meeting with the municipal agriculture offices so I guess it was in the crafting of intervention phase where we were a bit late,” Leliza said.

Farmers all over region 11 protested to demand for rice distribution, government subsidy for the farmers that according to them were not given aid by their local government.

“Food is a basic need that the government should have already and adequately prepared in anticipation of the massive hunger and that drought brought,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Vice Chairperson, Lito Lao.

Farmers along with other progressive groups marched today, April 22, from DA office to Freedom Park. (davaotoday.com)

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