Cebu province under state of calamity due to El Niño

MANILA, Philippines – The entire province of Cebu was placed under a state of calamity on Monday, March 25, due to El Niño.

El Niño is a meteorological phenomenon characterized by an extended dry season and warmer temperatures.

According to the Cebu provincial government, damage to agriculture and fisheries has already reached an estimated P100 million.

"Further damage [to] the agricultural crops, livestock, fishery, and water supply will be prevented if appropriate interventions and assistance are immediately provided to these vulnerable sectors," stated a resolution filed by Cebu Provincial Board Member Thadeo Ouano and passed on Monday.

The declaration of a state of calamity will allow the provincial government to disburse P59 million in emergency funds to affected areas.

The disbursement, however, will need the approval of the Commission on Elections as the campaign period for the May 2019 polls is underway, while the local campaign period will begin on Friday, March 29.

Cebu was also hit by El Niño during the election cycle in 2016, causing at least P186 billion in damage.

Both Cebu and neighboring Bohol were placed under a state of calamity then.

Like Metro Manila and Rizal, water rationing has also been implemented in several areas in Metro Cebu, including Cebu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and Lapu-Lapu City.

On its Facebook page, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District said last Friday, March 22, that it now has a production deficit "of close to 20,000 cubic meters per day" as its two water sources – the Buhisan and Jaclupan dams – "are starting to dry up." – Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com