“SUMMERTIME, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, yo daddy’s rich and yo ma is good-lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry.”
These are the opening lines of an aria in the 1935 opera “Porgy and Bess” composed by brothers George and Ira Gershwin with lyrics by Dubose Heyward, author of the novel “Porgy” on which the opera was based.
The conditions Heyward describe are a far-cry from what Cebu and the rest of the country are experiencing while in the throes of a weak El Niño this season.
For one thing, the livin’ ain’t that easy if you ask farmers and fisherfolk who have lost their crops and fish to the extreme heat brought about by the weather phenomenon.
And fish are definitely not jumpin’, they’re dyin’ as oxygen levels in the ponds have dropped considerably with the water level dipping as a result of quick evaporation. Those in the ocean are staying in the deep because the surface temperature of the water is really high.
Although not much cotton is planted in Cebu, the lack of rain has wreaked havoc on certain crops that are dying due to lack of water.
The Provincial Board will tackle the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office’s recommendation to place Cebu under a state of calamity during its session on Monday, March 25.
Earlier in the week, the Cebu City Council declared the entire city under a state of preparedness after the City Agriculture Department reported that 28 of the city’s 80 barangays were suffering from a water shortage with 70 percent of their water supply depleted due to the El Niño.
Once there is a need, the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) will recommend the declaration of a state of calamity in areas affected by the dry spell.
“State of preparedness is different from state of calamity because in preparedness, we just inform the public to prepare as to the state of calamity, it involves the release of funds. In state of calamity, release of funds that will be used in any spending related to the calamity will be faster,” said Wesley Vincent Yñigo of CDRRMC.
Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena advised affected farmers and fisherfolk to get insured by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. so they could be compensated for their losses.
Unfortunately, both announcements don’t come as any consolation to those who have seen all their hard work go to waste.
For them, the lullaby “Summertime” has become a dirge.