State of calamity declared in drought-stricken Bohol

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State of calamity declared in drought-stricken Bohol

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The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Tuesday declared a state of calamity due to a dry spell that has plagued more than half of the province’s mostly agricultural municipalities, causing over P179 million worth of crop damage and shortage of water supply for both irrigation and household needs.

SP members approved en masse a resolution that placed the entire province of Bohol under a state of calamity, over a week after the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) led by Governor Arthur Yap recommended for the declaration to be implemented.

The resolution will allow the government to tap its calamity fund.

According to Board Member Ricky Masamayor, who served as acting presiding officer during the SP regular session at the Capitol, the fund will be used to address the needs of the drought-hit towns.

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“Ang pondo nato atong itabang sa mga na-ughan g’yud, mga nag-declare pud og state of calamity,” said Masamayor who sat as acting vice governor while Vice Governor Rene Relampagos took over as acting governor.

Yap flew to China earlier this week for an official trip.

Photos from Leon Parac, Jr. of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist show that water at the province’s four major dams were below normal level as of early this month.

Masamayor said that the provincial government will be coordinating with concerned municipal local government units to discuss the needed projects and initiatives which will be aided through the calamity fund.

“Ang Office of the Governor ug Office of the Mayor magstorya lang sila ug unsa ilang mga proyekto para sa atong mga farmers,” he added.

In the resolution, SP members cited a letter from Yap to the legislative body led by Relampagos asking them to pass the resolution as water in the province’s four major dams reached almost critical levels due to lack of rains.

Yap through the PDRRMC also reported that 38 of the province’s 47 municipalities have been affected by the dry spell with at least six towns already placed under a state of calamity.

“This figure is expected to worsen,” the resolution stated based on the PDRRMC’s report.

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The resolution also cited a report from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration indicating that the province has been experiencing “below average rainfall” in the previous months.

Earlier, the PDRRMC approved the motion made by Office of the Provincial Agriculturist officer-in-charge Larry Pamugas to place the province under a state of calamity which was seconded by National Irrigation Administration 7 operations chief Evelina Putong.

Pamugas has said that the most affected by the dry spell is rice production in the province, which is considered as the rice bowl of Central Visayas.

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He noted that the province’s calamity fund is needed to support the livelihood of farmers affected by the drought, adding that harvest yield significantly dropped province-wide while only 60 percent of irrigated areas were planted with crops particularly palay. (RT)

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