I’m from a farming family in La Union, so when I saw the hectares and hectares of rice fields in the North turned into raging rivers after Pepeng battered them not only once, but many times, I felt the pain of the farmers being interviewed on TV.
There was a time in my younger years when our family and most families in our village were about to harvest from our rice fields that have turned golden and have made the air smell of bounty and sufficiency. But the floods came and turned that year and the next year our most trying years, when families had to eat literally camote and other root crops for months.
Back then, there were no OFWs to ask aid from, and there were no TV stations that looked for places to help and there were no foundations or government agencies that distributed noodles or canned goods.
The farmers interviewed on TV lost their harvest, ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 pesos, including their source seeds. Many of them will also have to pay loans for the fertilizers, herbicides and rental farming equipment.
But they all ended their statements with “Nabiag tay pay met. Dimi ammo no kasano, ngem ikarigatan ti bumangon“ — which means “We’re still alive. We don’t know how, but we will strive to rise again.”
Photo of flooded village taken by Erik de Castro for Reuters