Friday, July 19, 2019

Editorial: We give a dam

(Editorial Cartoon by Josua Cabrera)

THE dry spell swept some 90 hectares of farm lands in Central Visayas, 78 of which are in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, and 2.3 hectares in Balamban, Cebu, thus reported the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7.

DA 7 Technical Director Joel Elumba said the agency is spending P2 million for drone rental. it needed a better eye to spot strategic areas for dam construction and to get an idea of the extent of damage the El Niño caused on the crops.

A good number of areas in Siquijor and Bohol were also affected, the DA 7 said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) declared Friday, March 22, the end of the monsoon season, and in comes the dry season.

With only two ways our part of the world behaves in terms of weather, we wonder if anyone is any bit surprised. Our government agencies whose jobs revolve around ensuring that the citizens are protected by season changes, we assume, are on top of the situation.

Under a full-blown El Niño, warned the Pagasa, citizens should expect: extended dry season, delayed onset of the rainy season, weak monsoon activity, fewer tropical cyclones, below normal rainfall or droughts in most parts of the country. Add to that a super-hot air temperature that could suck all the farm lands and some inland bodies of water dry.

Recently, the DA had urged farmers to harvest their crops, and plant heat-resilient ones. The farmers may avail themselves of insurance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp.

While there is yet no report of livestock industry damage in Central Visayas, the DA reminds farmers to hydrate their livestock and keep them away from the sun at least when it’s fiercest.

Dalaguete town in the south, where Cebu’s “vegetable basket” is, on the other hand, still has sufficient water supply, reported Mayor Allan Cesante. The mountain ranges of Mantalongon, where a bulk of produce comes from, is blessed with fairer weather and water.

Monday, March 25, the Cebu Provincial Board started its discussion on whether to place the province under a state of calamity.

But year in and year out, through the shifting seasons, we do hope government can come up with a better science to put us way ahead in addressing potential problems.

Elias Silvano, 72, a fish farmer in Barangay Ocaña, Carcar City, was featured in this paper with a photograph of the poor man scratching his head at the sight of a parched pond and the zero chances of raising the usual tilapia and bangus. The grimace and the helplessness of Elias under the heat of the sun, the prospects of good income dissipating.

When can we ever get ahead?


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