ILOILO – Mayor Mark Palabrica of Bingawan town asked his Sangguniang Bayan (SB) to declare a state of calamity so the municipal government can use its calamity fund to help farmers adversely affected by the El Niño phenomenon.
The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by an significant reduction in rainfall.
Palabrical is hopeful the Bingawan SB would act on his request with dispatch on March 25 when it holds a special session.
Palay losses in Bingawan due to the dry conditions reached P24,143,988, according to the mayor, citing the assessment of the Municipal Agriculture Office and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“Gin-validate man sang Municipal Agriculture Office naton nga apektado ang 2,015 farmers,” added Palabrica.
Taking into consideration the average family size in Bingawan (with four members), Palabrica said 8,060 people in his town may be suffering due to the El Niño.
That’s over 50 percent of Bingawan’s total population of 15,199, said Palabrica.
A memorandum from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) allows a local government to declare a state of calamity if over 20 percent of its population is affected by a calamity, the mayor pointed out.
Among the assistance that the municipal government would release to farmers once a state of calamity is declared are palay seeds, water and milled rice.
“Pag-start gid sang February asta subong grabe gid ang init. Pati tubig ginakulang,” said Palabrica.
Meanwhile, Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said he would wait for the comprehensive report of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 6 on El Niño before making moves such as putting the province under a state of calamity.
Even so, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) has already asked local government units to submit reports regarding the effects of El Niño in their respective jurisdictions.
PDRRMC would consolidate the reports then submit these to Defensor.
According to the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) last week, over 13,000 farmers affected by the dry spell here are covered by crop insurance if they have been insured with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC).
An attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, PCIC’s principal mandate is to provide insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, plant diseases and pest infestations.
Since 2018 the PAO had been encouraging farmers to have themselves insured with PCIC, said Elias Sandig, assistant provincial agriculturist.
From December 2018 to February 2019 PAO already recorded P401,040,848.63 in agricultural losses in 26 municipalities and one component city covering 13,630 farmers working in 11,092 hectares of farmland.
The other day, the number of those municipalities rose to 32. These were the following:
* 1st District – Oton, Guimbal, Igbaras, Tigbauan, Tubungan, Miag-ao, San Joaquin
* 2nd District – Leon, Alimodian, Leganes
* 3rd District – Badiangan, Janiuay, Pototan, Cabatuan, Mina, Maasin
* 4th District – Anilao, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Passi City, San Enrique, Dumangas, Dingle, Dueñas
* 5th District – San Rafael, Batad, Balasan, Barotac Viejo, Ajuy, Concepcion, Lemery, Estancia./PN