THE Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has recommended the declaration of a state of calamity following the dry spell felt in the province and in the city the past several weeks.
PDRRMO Chief Baltazar Tribunalo said the technical working group saw the need to recommend this to the Provincial Board and Gov. Hilario Davide III as a pre-emptive measure so local government units can release funds for use to counter the effects of the mild El Niño, which started on Feb. 20 and will continue until May.
In Cebu City, the Council already placed the entire city under a state of preparedness as 28 out of the 80 barangays are already experiencing a shortage of water supply.
Tribunalo said affected areas in the province are Argao and Dalaguete towns.
“The dry spell is slow, so it’s really hot. (Affected areas like) Argao and Dalaguete towns greatly need water. The water level for drinking and for agriculture has dropped, so we really have to be proactive,” Tribunalo said.
Placing the province under a state of calamity will allow the Capitol and local government units under its jurisdiction to use their quick response funds based on the needs and assessments from their communities.
The PDRRMO has P60 million from the quick response fund for this purpose.
Earlier, Tribunalo said the rise in temperature brought about by the El Niño has not only affected farmlands and water reservoirs, but also triggered an abnormal increase in the number of crown-of-thorns seastar, a type of coral-eating starfish.
An initial assessment from the disaster office revealed that an outbreak of the coral-eating starfish has been reported in the towns of Cordova and Moalboal, and in the islands of Camotes.
Once the declaration is made, Tribunalo said it will allow the Capitol to help farmers who are suffering from low supply and poor harvest, to receive rations of rice.
Aside from this, communities will be able to prepare for the ill effects of the dry spell.
As Cebu City is under a state of preparedness, the City Agriculture Department will be able to spend P12 million for the purchase of hoses, water pumps and water drums to be distributed to affected farmers in upland barangays.
Barangays Adlaon, Sudlon I, Sudlon II, Tagbao and Taptap are among the villages affected by the El Niño. (RTF and RVC)