Negros Occidental

El Niño damage to rice, corn crops in Negros Occidental hits P197 million

Erwin Delilan

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El Niño damage to rice, corn crops in Negros Occidental hits P197 million

DRIED UP UP. A closer look at a rice field in Pontevedra town, Negros Occidental, shows the effects of the dry weather conditions.

courtesy of Grace Supe

The worst-hit locality is Cauayan town, followed by Kabankalan City

BACOLOD, Philippines – Damage ro rice and corn crops caused by the ElNiño phenomenon in Negros Occidental is at P197.153 million, the  Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) said in its report to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Friday, April 26.

OIC provincial agriculturist Dina Genzola said that the damage to rice alone in 25 towns and cities in the province reached P192.208 million, while damage to corn in six localities was pegged at P4.944 million.

The worst-hit locality is Cauayan town, with P66.139 million in damaged rice crops, followed by Kabankalan City at P41.9 million, Genzola said.

Western Visayas is now under blue alert status due to El Niño phenomenon. Blue alert means half of disaster response force of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is on standby, ready to respond to emergencies.

In view of the excessive heat, Negros Occidental Provincial Health Officer Gerlie Pinongan urged residents, especially senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, to stay out of the heat.

“Stay indoors, please!” Pinongan said. “We advise everyone, not only seniors and immunocompromised individuals, to keep hydrated always, drink plenty of water.”

“Stay indoors, especially in a cool and well ventilated environment if possible. Avoid outdoor and sun exposure, especially from 10 am to 4 pm,” she added.

In its public advisory, state weather bureau PAGASA said areas with temperatures ranging from 42°C to 47°C  are under “danger” classification. The forecast for the Negros Occidental on Saturday, April 27, is 43°C.

Heat wave not stopping Ugyonan Festival

Despite the advisory, the famed Ugyonan Festival in EB Magalona town in Negros Occidental will go on as scheduled, starting Saturday to Wednesday, May 1.

“There will no stopping of our fiesta,” said Mayor Marvin Malacon despite PAGASA’s forecasted heat index in Negros Occidental of 43°C on the start of the annual event.

He said that the activities for the 35th Ugyonan Festival will be held at the town’s covered court.

Malacon also said, however, that local officials will discuss on Saturday the Ugyonan street and arena dance competition on May 1,  particularly the possible suspension of the street dance in view of the excessive heat.

Malacon said they did not want to compromise the safety and health of the participants.

“I saw on TV what happened to 30 street dancers in Sta. Catalina town in Negros Oriental on April 26. They fainted because of too much heat. I don’t want it to happen in our fiesta, too,” the mayor said.

Ugyonan’s street and arena dance competition showcases its famed blue crabs as the backbone of EB Magalona’s economy and, at the same time, Saraviahanons’ celebration of faith in honor of St. Joseph The Worker.

Ugyonan Festival with the prefix word ugyon (unity) is a celebration of oneness among Saraviahanons, highlighted by the promotion of town’s prime sea produce, blue crabs (Callinectus sapidus as scientific name).

Blue crabs are abundant in the Tomongtong Strait between Barangay Tomongtong in EB Magalona all the way to Banate town in Iloilo. –

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