CEBU CITY, Philippines – The province of Cebu declared a state of calamity on Monday, April 11, due to the dry spell.
El Niño has caused water sources to dry up in the province. Cebu City had already declared a state of calamity last week.
Last May 2015, the province had already declared a state of calamity for the same reason. Provincial board member Grecilda “Gigi” Sanchez said, however, the declaration lapses after 6 months. “There is a need to declare again, because that declaration is only good for 6 months,” Sanchez said in Cebuano.
The declaration was authored by vice governor Agnes Magpale and co-sponsored by Sanchez.
She said that funds are needed to help farmers affected by the damage. “Just look around, it’s very dry. There are lots of areas that need water.”
Next week, the provincial government will deploy the Rapid Assessment Team to assess the agricultural damage caused by El Niño.
A P34-million quick response fund was approved with the declaration. While some board members protested the need to declare another state of calamity, provincial board member Alex Binghay said that this was to make sure that a repeat of Kidapawan does not happen, “It doesn’t make any difference at all, the declaration now and the declaration before, but the difference is we could have been prepared already.”
Binghay added, “so when the mountain barangays ask for it [the assistance], we can give it right away.”
Calamity declared in Bohol
The neighboring province of Bohol was also placed under a state of calamity on Thursday, April 7.
According to the Bohol Chronicle, 27 of Bohol’s 47 towns are heavily affected by El Niño. Officials estimate agricultural damage to be at P312 million. At least 12,000 hectares of rice, cornfields, other high value crops and fish ponds have been damaged by the drought.
The drought is expected to last until late May or early June this year. – with reports from Richale Cabauatan, Agnes Mulet, and Zia Esmalin /Rappler.com
Richale Cabauatan, Agnes Mulet, and Zia Esmalin are Rappler interns
Background image from Shutterstock