PROVINCIAL Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said the Capitol will build at least 10 water catchment facilities in mountain barangays and vegetable farms.

Tribunalo said this is a way to help farmers just in case the weak El Niño worsens.

Rain this month serves as an opportunity for the Capitol, as well as farmers, to save water through catchment facilities.

Tribunalo said they can use the rainwater if farmers experience shortage of water for their plants.

The catchments will be installed in Dalaguete, Argao, Sibonga, Alcoy, Alegria, Consolacion, Tuburan and Barili.

Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera said these areas were chosen because there are already heavy equipment in the area.

The cost of the water impounding facility ranges from P100,000 to P1 million.

Natera said a cash-for-work program will be implemented once construction starts.

Those who can avail themselves of the cash-for-work program are the families who were affected by the mild El Niño.

Tribunalo said the Province will have a water truck after the governor approved its purchase.

Water sprinklers, hose and school supplies will also be delivered to the poor farming communities.

Funds

The PDRRM officer feared that the quick response fund will not be enough if calamities strike later.

Usahay ma-exhaust na nato ang atong fund kay gitutokan natong El Niño. Unya mokalit la’g kusog ang bagyo nya simbako lang maigo ta. Tungod sa limitado nato nga funding tingali’g maapektohan gali ta sa sunod nga response (Maybe we’ll run out of funds because we are focused on El Niño. If a typhoon will hit the Province, our response will be affected because we now have limited funds),” Tribunalo said.

That is why, he said, the Capitol is buying equipment that can be used not only during El Niño, but also when there is a typhoon.

Provincial Agriculture head Roldan Saragena said the dry spell may continue until the fourth quarter of this year, based on weather forecasts.

Saragena warned farmers who already started planting to expect water shortage, intense heat and storms.

Effects

Pagasa confirmed Saragena’s apprehension on the prevailing heat, low rainfall and two weak-low-pressure areas (WLPA) now inside the Philippine area of responsibility. These will definitely affect Cebu agriculture.

“Save this rainwater now for future water shortage” was Saragena’s advice.

He said Capitol will be distributing 1,200 units of 200-liter plastic drums to farmers in the province.

This is through joint efforts of the Provincial Agriculture office, Provincial Disaster Risk-Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) and Provincial Engineering Office.

These catchments are for farmers associations, with supportive local government units (LGUs).

Saragena also advised farmers to avail themselves of Capitol’s agri-fisheries insurance program, which is 100 percent premium-subsidized.

Season

Pagasa Cebu officer-in-charge Alfredo Quiblat said June 22 was the start of the rainy season.

Saragena said Cebu is now at the start of the cropping season, which was supposed to be in the second week of May. He expects corn planted this month to be harvested anytime in September.

He said once corn starts to bear fruit, damage is imminent once it is exposed to three weeks of low rainfall and extreme heat.

Quiblat said, though, that while we have above normal rainfall this June, we may only have near-normal rainfall this July.

June rainfall is 229 mm., while the normal level is 183 mm.

There will be decreased rainfall this August, September and October. By November, Cebu will have very low rainfall, said Quiblat.

He said the forecast model, which is 60 percent accurate, is based on data collected all over the country on amount of rainfall, temperature, air pressure, humidity and historical or previous weather conditions.

Quiblat said Cebu experienced a dry spell during March, April and May.

During these three consecutive months, there was more than a 60 percent decrease in rainfall.

In the last week of May, Capitol’s provincial agriculture office reported that harvest in 43 has. of fishpond in Carcar City and Sibonga town decreased due to the dry spell. He said 500 farmers in four southern communities barely earned anything from their farms.

This prompted Cebu Province to declare a state of calamity last May 25, ordering the LGUs to submit an El Niño damage report.

That week, Saragena said Carmen, Tuburan, Borbon and Tabuelan in the North, while Asturias in the West and Argao, Moalboal, Alcantara in the South declared a state of calamity.

Sibonga, Samboan towns and Talisay and Carcar cities submitted damage reports. Some 519 farmers and 186 fisherfolks in these four LGUs were badly affected by extreme heat and lack of rainfall.