The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chaired by Governor Arthur Yap recommended on Thursday morning the declaration of a province-wide state of calamity amid a dry spell that has led to crop damage amounting to over P140 million and affected almost 100,000 farmers.
According to PDRRMC chief Anthony Damalerio, the move to place the province under a calamity status, which was initially raised by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, was approved by the council and it is now up to the Provincial Board (PB) to whether or not issue the declaration through a resolution.
The PB is expected to tackle the issue when it holds its regular session on Tuesday next week.
Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Larry Pamugas 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.
“Ang daghan-daghan ang rice, vegetable unya naay gamay na corn base sa mga reports sa mga municipal agriculturist,” he said.
Pamugas said that the province’s calamity fund is needed to support the livelihood of farmers affected by the drought, noting that harvest yield significantly dropped province-wide while only 60 percent of irrigated areas were planted with crops particularly palay.
Based on information gathered by the OPA, around 30,000 farmers from irrigated areas and over 60,000 farmers in rain-fed areas have been affected.
According to Pamugas, the lack of rainfall has “directly and indirectly” affected 38 of the province’s 47 municipalities.
He noted however that the data on the damages were still partial. Their office was still gathering information on damages on aquaculture, particularly inland fish farming.
“Basin next update makahatag na ta og data sa aqua,” he said.
Pamugas admitted that they have only been able to extend “minor” interventions and assistance to those affected due to lack of funds.
Six towns so far have declared a state of calamity namely, Sierra Bullones, Candijay, Alicia, Antequera, President Carlos P. Garcia and Batuan.
Meanwhile, Pilar, San Miguel, Carmen and Guindulman have also considered placing their towns under calamity status. (R. Tutas)