CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— The Provincial Government assured Thursday that there is no need to declare a state of calamity adding that the dry spell only has “minimal effect and damage” to the province.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) and the Capitol said the El Niño phenomenon did not greatly affect Pampanga especially the fourth district, which is contrary to reports that it is set to announce the declaration.

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Acting Provincial Agriculturist Crispin Guinto said that the damage is not enough to constitute a calamity and that it is so far “negligible.”

Earlier Representative Anna York Bondoc-Sagum and mayors of the fourth district have called on the National Government for immediate support on the possible threat of the dry spell as it endangers some 3,000 hectares of rice lands in the area.

However, Guintu said that OPA has ensured the immediate repair of open surface pumps (OSP) in some towns of the province. It even plans for the possible installation of additional units in strategic areas to mitigate the effects of the dry spell, he said.

Guintu added that of the province’s total 48,454 hectares of farmlands planted with agricultural crops, only 1,278 hectares or two percent were reportedly affected by El Niño.

Capitol officials, in a statement from the Provincial Information Office, have called the officials not to release the declaration saying that a “baseless announcement of a state of calamity would create an economic backlash in Pampanga.”

Based on the inventory report of OPA, the province has a total of 1,576 units of shallow tube wells servicing a total area of 4,728 hectares of farmlands throughout the four districts. Six hundred sixty hectares of farmlands in Candaba, San Luis, Mexico, Arayat, Apalit and San Simon are serviced by the open surface pumps (OSP).

The provincial agriculturist also denied reports regarding the fish kill in some towns of Pampanga last March 4.