MALACANANG has instructed the local government units (LGUs) in Isabela to release additional funds to address the severe drought happening in the province.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar on Thursday said the initial remedy for the dry spell is to provide extra funds for the province, which was placed under state of calamity on Monday.

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“The LGUs there can direct more funds to address the problem,” said Olivar in a text message to Sun.Star. The LGUs has already provided fuel assistance for the water pumps of farmers whose farms were affected by drought.

The National Government, said Olivar, will task all concerned agencies particularly the Department of Agriculture (DA) to continuously monitor the situation in Isabela through the reactivated El Nino Task Force.

“Government agencies will continue to assist especially through revitalized El Nino task force under the DA.”

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the revitalization of El Nino Task last month to prepare for the worst effect of the looming El Nino phenomenon.

The DA was tasked to head the agency alongside Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The entire province of Isabela was placed under a state of calamity due to the severe effects of drought that resulted in damage to crops and agricultural losses. One of the first towns placed under calamity was Cabatuan.

Report said the province already lost about P500 million worth of damage to corn and palay. Local farmers are expecting to harvest only 30 percent of their planted crops. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)