by: Sarwell Q. Meniano

TACLOBAN CITY — Crop insurance claims by farmers in the Eastern Visayas region surged this year due to pest infestation in rice farms, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) said.

As of November, PCIC had released P12 million, higher by about P3 million from last year, to 2,547 farmers in the region.PCIC regional manager Dominico S. Digamon said that for damage from pests and diseases in rice farms alone, the agency paid out P7.42 million, higher than the agency’s releases for typhoon and flooding damage, which summed up to P4.5 million.

“Even without major calamities this year, we have paid more than the 2010 level considering that farmers incurred production losses because of rats, stemborer, rice tungro virus, rice black bug, and rice blast,” Mr. Digamon told reporters.

For the entire 2010, PCIC’s indemnity for rice totaled P9.4 million with P1.52 million paid out due to typhoons and flooding and P4 million due to pests and diseases.

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