Antique now under state of calamity due to drought

Erwin Delilan, Reymund Titong

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Antique now under state of calamity due to drought

CALAMITY. Kabankalan City senior agriculturist Frieda Paclibar reports about the affects of the drought in the city on Thursday, April 18. The city in Negros Occidental has been declared under a state of calamity.

Miguel Zayco FB page

The city council of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental also declares the entire city under a state of calamity

BACOLOD, Philippines – The provincial board of Antique declared the province under a state of calamity due to a drought affecting five provinces in Western Visayas.

Raul Fernandez, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) director for Western Visayas, said on Friday, April 19, that Antique’s legislature made the declaration during an online session a day earlier based on the recommendation of the province’s disaster risk reduction team.

The declaration would allow the provincial government to tap into its reserve funds to cushion the effects of the scorching heat and dry weather conditions exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon.

Officials said Antique has so far suffered damage to crops, fishery, and livestock estimated at P213 million.

Provincewide, about 50,292 people or about 12,552 families from 281 barangays have seriously suffered as a result of the weather conditions.

Before the Antique declaration, five local governments in Western Visayas separately declared a state of calamity in the towns of San Enrique in Negros Occidental, Sibalom, Anini-y, and Laua-an in Antique, and Sara in Iloilo province.

Calamity in Kabankalan

The city council of Kabankalan, a component city of Negros Occidental, also passed a resolution on Thursday afternoon, placing the entire city under a state of calamity.

Officials said the dry weather conditions and rising temperatures adversely affected 42.5% of the agricultural livelihood of Kabankalan residents.

Kabankalan senior agriculturist Frieda Paclibar said the number of impacted farmers and fisherfolk in the city reached 4,414, and about 3,239 hectares of farmland were damaged.

Kabankalan Mayor Benjie Miranda said almost all the 32 villages of the southern Negros city received rations of water after their sources of water dried up due to the extreme heat. 

Kabankalan City has an agricultural land area of over 7,582 hectares with 10,384 farmers and fisherfolk. The data exclude data on affected sugarcane farms and farmers. 

A report from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) shows that the damage caused by the drought to the city’s rice and corn fields has reached more than P40 million. 

Kabankalan acting agriculturist Ricky Muscosa told Rappler said they were anticipating the number of affected farmers and the amount of damage to increase as the weather conditions worsen.

Muscosa said the village of Tampalon was among the worst hit, with 343.99 hectares of damaged farms. 

Kabankalan Vice Mayor Miguel Zayco said the local government should provide aid even to sugarcane farmers, noting the absence of data regarding the damage to the local sugarcane industry.

Meanwhile, Fernandez, chairman of the region’s disaster risk reduction and management council, said the Task Force El Niño in Western Visayas will convene in Iloilo City on Monday, April 22, to make an overall assessment of the effects and damage caused by the scorching heat and dry weather conditions in the region. –

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