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Manila, Philippines - Some 2,929 hectares of rice farmlands were damaged by the continuous rains in Albay, the Department of Agriculture said in a report on Tuesday.

The damaged rice areas are 12 municipalities in the province of Albay that have been flooded due to the heavy rains that have been battering the region, according to Marilyn V. Sta Calataina, the DA Bicol regional technical director who has placed production loss at about P13.37 million.

Majority of the affected rice crops were either newly planted or in their vegetative stage as the cropping season has just started, Catalina said.

Of the 2,929 affected areas, 85.8 percent or 2,516 hectares were considered to "have a chance of recovery" and only 413 hectares were destroyed, with no chance of recovery.

The areas greatly affected by the flooding are: Tabaco City with over 932 hectares; Legaspi City with over 592 hectares and Malinao with over 420 hectares.

The towns of Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Manito, Malilipot, Oas, Polangui and Sto.Domingo also saw some farmlands submerged in flood.

The rice-planting season for dry cropping in the province was delayed as the wet season cropping also started late due to the occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon.

The DA reminded farmers whose crops were affected by the rains to avail of discounted palay seeds under the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project.

Under this program, qualified farmers can get one bag (40 kg) of certified inbred seeds per hectare. The DA through the NFA will provide seed subsidy of P600. The other half (P600) will be paid by the farmers as their equity.

Since the beginning of the year, the eastern seaboard of the Philippines has been pummeled by heavy rains brought by the tail end of the cold front.

The weather bureau said the rains were heavier and more than usual at this time of the year due to the La Niña phenomenon.

The weather event, which refers to the abnormal cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, brings more rains to the Philippines.

The country last experienced La Niña in 2007. The weather agency expects the phenomenon to last until May.