ILOILO – The municipality of Lambunao declared a state of calamity due to widespread losses in agriculture caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
“Most of the losses are in rice production because rice is our main produce,” said Mayor Jason Gonzales.
But other agricultural crops are adversely affected, too, such as banana, corn and a variety of vegetables, he added.
Losses reached P164,107,800 affecting 3,588 farmers.
The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) declared a state of calamity on April 8 upon Gonzales’ request. Now the municipal government could use its P1.5-million calamity fund to implement El Niño mitigating measures. This may not be enough, however. The local government estimated it needed some P9 million.
One of the mitigating measures is the rationing of water in households, most especially those in mountainous areas.
El Niño is characterized by a severe drop in rainfall.
Gonzales said the local government would be buying water from suppliers and have this rationed to households by tankers.
The rehabilitation of affected farmlands would also entail considerable financial resources. Affected farmers would be give seeds for sowing.
Gonzales said the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office would be identifying the families needing assistance.
Lambunao is the second municipality in the 3rd District to declare a state of calamity due to El Niño. The first was Bingawan, on March 25.
Bingawan’s losses in its agriculture sector reached over P53 million. Mayor Mark Palabrica said they would use their P3.4-million calamity fund to help over 8,000 affected residents (2,015 farmers plus their dependents).
The local government outlined eight mitigating measures. These were the following:
* on population – to extend immediate relief operations to affected farmers and their families by purchasing rice for their consumption; to supply potable water to affected households; and operation and improvement of water system
* on agriculture – purchase rice seeds and vegetable seeds to be distributed to affected farmers and all affected population; seminars and trainings on agriculture and provision of irrigation facilities and equipment
* on engineering – construction and rehabilitation of damaged small farm reservoirs; improvement of farm-to-market roads going to small farm reservoirs
* on health – purchase of influenza, hypertension and other medicines; availability of fuel and ambulance for emergencies
* on security – proactive implementation of security measures against burglary and other crimes due to the inadequacy of household and personal income
* on fire prevention – proactive implementation of fire prevention measures against too much heat
* activation of Disaster Risk Reduction Management Operations Center 24 hours / seven days a week
* information and dissemination campaign on the effects of El Niño./PN