Negros Occidental declares state of calamity due to El Niño

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The dry spell affects 7,080 farmers, 44 fisherfolk and 7,909 sugar planters in 136 barangays of 21 towns and cities in the province

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines (Apr. 28, 2016) — The province of Negros Occidental has declared a state of calamity after incurring P407 million worth of losses in agro-fishery.

The provincial board, during its session on Wednesday afternoon, April 27, approved the resolution declaring the entire province under the state of calamity. The same resolution was also passed by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr last April 22.

The dry spell affected 7,080 farmers, 44 fisherfolk and 7,909 sugar planters in 136 barangays of 21 towns and cities in the province. Earlier, the towns of Hinobaan, Pontevedra and Hinigaran, and Sipalay City already declared a state of calamity after a prolonged shortage of water supply in farms due to the absence of rain brought on by the El Niño phenomenon.

The state of calamity declaration will allow local government units to access their Quick Response Funds after it was endorsed to the provincial board for concurrence.

This year, Negros Occidental has P40 million in quick response funding, which can already be used after the province has been placed under a state of

The quick response fund is 30% of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, which was pegged at P133.5 million. The remaining 70% – P93.45 million – will be allocated to the preparation, prevention, and mitigation fund, said Ma. Lina Sanogal, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office.

As of April 27, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist reported P221.88 million worth of damage in rice, corn, and high-value commercial crops, as well as tilapia. Losses in rice crops were pegged at P211.97 million; corn – P3.83 million; high-value commercial crops – P5.10 million; and tilapia with P985,250.

The Provincial Veterinarian Office also reported that damage to livestock and poultry was P3.16 million.

For sugarcane, the Sugar Regulatory Board reported that the estimated yield loss was 92,230.27 kilograms which is worth P167.74 million. The dry spell also damaged 1,532.95 tons of molasses worth P23.93 million. Sugar and molasses are the main crops of the province.

Sixth District Board Member Pedro Zayco, chairman of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction Management, said the quick response fund will only be used as an augmentation in case the funds of the localities, which were hit by El Niño, are not enough, as he said more calamities may come this year.

  by Marchel P. Espina |