TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima) caused billions of pesos worth of damage in agriculture and fisheries across 5 regions.
"Initial damage estimate to agri/fisheries P10-B," said Piñol in a text message to Rappler on Saturday, October 22.
According to the chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the figure covers the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol.
Lawin slammed the eastern coast of Cagayan province on Wednesday evening, October 19, packing strong winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour. (WATCH: Tuguegarao victims ask for food, clothes after Lawin)
Giant mountain ranges weakened the typhoon, which left the Philippine Area of Responsbility by Thursday evening. (READ: #LawinPH: Road to recovery begins)
Lawin, however, destroyed crops and infrastructure. Thousands are left homeless, with several victims in isolated barangays still waiting for relief goods.
Piñol said he already instructed the DA to implement the following actions:
The DA secretary went around Kalinga, Isabela, and Cagayan Valley to survey the extent of the damage. (READ: After Lawin, state of calamity declared in Cagayan)
He then met with local officials of Cagayan in Tuguegarao City, including Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, to discuss his observations and recommendations.
DA Sec Manny Piñol meets with local officials to give his observations on agri/fisheries damage of Typhoon Lawin @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/q8UlcBBlaT — Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) October 22, 2016
Piñol expressed concern for the areas still affected by the overflooding of the Cagayan River.
"'Yung nakita ko kanina was very scary kasi 'yung tubig ng Cagayan River, gumanun na eh because of the siltation (What I saw earlier was very scary because the water of Cagayan River really overflowed due to siltation). Now the moment you get hit by another typhoon as strong as Lawin, chances are, knock on wood, it would be very disastrous," Piñol told local officials.
He said his first "major" recommendation is the desilting and dredging of the Cagayan River.
He also instructed Mamba to review Cagayan's reforestation program because by all indications, the reforestation efforts in the Sierra Madre, Caraballo, and Cordillera mountain ranges have "failed."
"And I saw it. The signs are there – murky waters, brown water flowing, [the] siltation. These are proof na 'di nag-work 'yung reforestation (the reforestation did not work)," said Piñol.
Piñol was part of President Rodrigo Duterte's delegation in Beijing, China.
The Cabinet secretary said he flew to the northern Luzon provinces through military chopper after returing to the Philippines on Saturday. – Rappler.com