Will Iloilo City be declared under state of calamity?

PARCHED CORNFIELD. A farmer harvests corn in Barangay Cabugao Norte, Santa Barbara, Iloilo. The Provincial Agriculture Office of Iloilo has advised farmers not to plant palay and other water-intensive crops such as corn this first quarter of 2019 due to a projected delay in the rainy season. Farmers should instead plant alternative high-value crops that do not need as much watering such as bulb onions and watermelons. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – Today the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) is convening to determine whether to recommend a declaration of a state of calamity or not due to the El Niño phenomenon.

On March 26 the CDRRMO urged barangays to organize task forces to monitor water efficiency, protection and conservation in their respective areas.

Iloilo City has 180 barangays.

An ad hoc committee was also created to spearhead the assessment of the impact of El Niño and identify immediate and long-term solutions.

CDRRMO head Donna Magno said of the 33 barangays that were so far assessed, 23 reported that 20 percent of their populations suffered from water scarcity – roughly 75,000 people as of April 18.

El Niño hit the city in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Several barangays suffered from water scarcity.

Placing the city under a state of calamity would allow barangays to use their quick response fund (QRF) to, among others, purchase water tanks.

Later on, these tanks could be converted into rainwater harvesting facilities, said Magno.

Iloilo City has a P115-million local DRRM fund, 30 percent of which can be used as QRF once it is placed under a state of calamity.

The other 70 percent is for preparedness measures, even without a declaration of a state of calamity. (With a report from the Philippines News Agency/PN)


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