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Saturday, May 18, 2024

More areas likely to declare state of calamity amid El Niño —­ solon

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) should anticipate more areas in the country to be declared under a state of calamity due to drought and allot its Quick Response Fund (QRF) under this year’s calamity funds so that it can be immediately tapped and released to aid drought-hit farmers.

Rep. Wilbert T Lee of AGRI party-list group made this statement as the local government of San Enrique town in Negros Occidental declared the municipality under a state of calamity following weeks of rising temperatures, dry weather conditions, and lack of rainfall.

The local mayor says 90 percent of the town’s rice fields had already dried up and the farmers could not start replanting due to the unfavorable weather conditions.

San Enrique is home to some 26,000 people and is one of the top rice-producing towns in Negros Occidental. A large chunk of the town’s 2,884.75-hectare land area is rice farms.

About 20 local government units (LGUs) have declared a state of calamity due to the impact of El Niño.

“Kailangang i-expect natin na sa darating na mga linggo ay madadagdagan pa ang mga lugar na magdedeklara ng state of calamity dahil sa matinding init at tagtuyot. Kaya dapat siguraduhin ng DA na ready for release at download sa kanilang regional offices ang QRF kapag nagdeklara na ng state of calamity ang mga LGU para naman mabigyan ng agarang ayuda ang mga apektadong magsasaka sa mga lugar na ‘yon (We have to expect that in the coming weeks there will be more places that will declare a state of calamity due to extreme heat and drought. So the DA should make sure that the QRF is ready for release and download in their regional offices when the LGUs declare a state of calamity so that immediate aid can be given to the affected farmers in those areas),” Lee said.

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