By Riza T. Olchondra (Philippine Daily Inquirer) Updated September 30, 2009

PHILIPPINE CROP INSURANCE Corp. said it would release P95 million to cover crop insurance claims of rice and corn farmers affected by Tropical Storm “Ondoy.”

Agriculture Secretary and PCIC chair Arthur Yap said the amount was based on reports from PCIC regional offices affected by the calamity.

He said all PCIC’s claims adjusters were now working double time in processing claims to enable farmers to replant and catch up with the planting season as soon as possible.

The heaviest damage to rice and corn crops was recorded in Central Luzon. Farmers in the region are claiming an estimated P40 million in crop insurance indemnities.

The PCIC Southern Tagalog regional office expects to pay a total of P28 million. The other affected regions with corresponding indemnity estimates are Ilocos, P6 million; Cagayan Valley, P5 million; and Bicol, P16 million.

The flooding caused by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” came when most of the rice crops were in their late tillering stage, while the corn crops were at flowering stage making it difficult for the crops to recover from devastation.

The crop insurance program of the government enables farmers to recoup their crop loses caused by natural calamities as well as plant pests and diseases.

Crop insurance serves as a collateral substitute also for borrowing farmers of formal rural financial institutions such as cooperatives and rural banks and this scheme contributes to the stability of the rural economy even in abnormal time such as this.