Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has ordered all agriculture officials to expedite the submission of assessment reports on the farm damage wrought by Typhoon "Ondoy" and the status of food supply.
In a statement issued on Monday, Yap said that his department needs to get this report as soon as possible as this will help the national government in drawing up a comprehensive aid and rehabilitation program.
"I have directed the heads of all concerned agencies of the agriculture department to fast-rack their assessment work on the actual farm damages wrought by Typhoon Ondoy as well as on actual food supplies in the national capital and elsewhere so we can come up at once with a comprehensive aid and rehabilitation program for the benefit of our farmers, fisher folk, agribusiness entrepreneurs and consumers," Yap said.
Tropical storm Kestana, locally known as "Ondoy", slammed into the eastern coast of Philippines' Luzon region on Saturday. Heavy rainfall and landslides brought by the storm left 52 people dead, 27 missing and over 300,000 people affected, most of whom were evacuated from their flooded homes.
Yap also appealed to traders not to hoard rice and raise prices at a time that most consumers are reeling from the damage wrought by "Ondoy."
"Metro Manila and many other parts of Luzon have been battered by the worst ever typhoon in several decades and countless Filipinos have either died, are still homeless or reeling from unprecedented property losses," Yap said.
"The last thing we need at this point is for unscrupulous people to aggravate this unfortunate situation and profit from such misfortunes by inducing abnormal food shortages or price spirals," he added.
The water level at Pantabangan was at 219 meters on Sunday morning and still two meters below the spilling level of 221 meters, and the National Irrigation Administration Upper Pampanga River Irrigation System (NIA-UPRIIS) reported that there has been no water release or complete water cutoff since Thursday.
NIA Administrator Carlos Salazar said that all dams and reservoir run by the agency were under control.