Bishop urges gov’t to aid farmers vs. El Niño

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Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo (Photo: CBCP News)

MANILA, Oct. 7, 2015— A Catholic bishop called on the government to provide assistance to agricultural workers who would be affected by the prevailing El Nino phenomenon.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said more attention should be given to agricultural workers who may lose their jobs due to what could be the worst drought in two decades.

The Trade Union of the Philippines (TUCP), the country’s biggest labor group, said at least one million workers in the agricultural sector may possibly lose their jobs due to the effects of El Niño.

Joblessness = poverty

“It is unemployment that generates the poverty that leads to hunger,” Pabillo said. “The question now is what are the government’s mitigation plans?”

He said while the Church is more than willing to help, the government must lead in the efforts because “it has the resources and the technology.”

The TUCP said it is more important now than ever that efforts are focused on livelihood development and strengthening communities’ resilience by providing alternative and sustainable livelihood options.

“We urge the government, from the national down to the local government units, to include in its mitigation plans those workers in the agriculture sector who may be rendered jobless due to the intense weather phenomenon,” said the country’s labor group.

‘Double whammy’

“These types of workers suffer a double whammy because not only will they lose their livelihood and income, they also suffer as consumers,” it added.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has earlier warned the public of an intensified effect of the El Niño this year.

The dry spell, the state weather bureau said, could affect as many as 79 provinces, which will experience “below normal” amounts of rainfall.

The weather phenomenon, it added, can impact crops and also threatens water supply in Metro Manila. (CBCP News)

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