Albay rice farmers race against Tropical Depression Quinta

Rice farmers have been busy in the fields of in Ligao, Albay, harvesting their crops. Time is of the essence, as they are racing against Tropical Depression Quinta.

“We need to fast track the harvesting so we could be able to save the palay from Quinta’s fury,” rice farmer Paciano Lim Jr said as he hacked at rice stalks.

Lim said the harvest will be sold to private traders at P12.80 per kilo.

“We don’t have a dryer and so we’re running out of time. We also need money in the middle of the pandemic,” the 31-year-old added.

Gregoria “Gay” Serrano, a 73-year-old widow, hired laborers to harvest her one-hectare rice field for the same reason.  

Serrano has been overseeing their farm after her husband died of prostate cancer a few months ago. Her 3 children have their own families and businesses.   

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in a 5 pm bulletin on Saturday, October 24, that Quinta remained on track to make landfall in Bicol region between Sunday night, October 25, and early Monday morning, October 26, then cross Southern Luzon on Monday. 

The Office of Civil Defense in Bicol placed the region under blue alert status as Quinta intensified. This prompted farmers in the region to rush their rice harvest before local government units begin evacuating families in affected areas.

Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office, said that the provincial government will enforce the evacuation on Sunday, October 25.  

Albay’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) headed by Governor Al Francis Bichara, held an emergency meeting on Thursday, October 23, to prepare for Quinta. –