Cebu province has been placed under a state of calamity due to El Niño while two other provinces are taking emergency measures to counter or at least mitigate the adverse effects of the drought.
Provincial board member Grecilda Sanchez, who chairs the budget committee and authored the calamity resolution, said a state of calamity would pave the way for the release of the provincial government’s P33-million calamity fund.
At least 30 provinces mostly in Mindanao and Visayas have suffered billions of pesos in farm losses since El Niño hit the country last year.
Earlier, Cebu Mayor Michael Rama declared Cebu City under a state of emergency as hinterland barangays suffered water shortages caused by the prolonged dry spell.
The provincial board also approved a resolution asking the province to help farmers cope with water supply problems.
Provincial board member Alex Binghay, who authored the resolution, said there is a need to prevent a recurrence of the farmers’ protest and the subsequent violent dispersal that happened in Kidapawan City on April 1 and stressed that the provincial government “must be cautious and vigilant enough in heeding the demand for relief from farmers in the drought-stricken Cebu province since last year.”
Provincial agriculturist Roldan Sarajena said some 31,000 farmers are insured by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp., with the province paying for their premiums, but there have been no claims so far this year.
In General Santos, the city government has rolled out its emergency cash-for-work program for residents to counter the ill effects of the El Niño.
GenSan was placed under a state of calamity in February this year as El Niño destroyed P54 million worth of farm crops.
At least 10,624 families were named beneficiaries of the cash-for-work program, the city government’s social welfare and development office said.They wil be hired to work for 10 days on community projects and receive a salary of P203 each day.
The city earmarked P21 million from the quick response fund for the emergency program.
Another drought-ravaged locality, Cagayan de Oro City, has asked authorities for the conduct of cloud seeding operation.
CDO, also under a state of calamity, incurred P60 million in damage to agriculture.
CDO Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the Air Force has expressed readiness to conduct cloud seeding as early as September last year. He said 15 barangays bore the brunt of El Niño.