THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) yesterday reported P47.7 million in damage caused by El Niño on aqua-culture in the Provinces of Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.

Speaking during the Kapihan sa PIA/AGIO (Philippine Information Agency and Association of Government Information Officers), Dr. Allan Poquita, BFAR 7 assistant director, said that P47.7 million is already a big toll considering that it has stopped the production.

He said that of the P47.7 million, P1.232 million worth of damage is in Cebu, particularly tilapia and bangus. Cebu has less damage than Siquijor’s P1.721 million because some fish ponds here are not operating.

Siquijor’s damage is in seaweeds and tilapia.

Bohol, which is supplying marine products to Cebu, has the biggest damage at P44.795 million on freshwater tilapia, seaweeds, bangus and caulerpa fish.

Poquita said that Negros Oriental, which used to be part of Region 7 but is now with the Negros Island Region (NIR), reported a total damage of P82.3 million, for verification.

The discussion yesterday on the effects of El Niño was also in line with the celebration of the Ocean Month in May.

“The bureau’s response and help is to provide immediate inputs as a form of assistance like making our hatcheries ready in case we are experiencing scarcity of supplies,” Poquita said.

Poquita further expounded that among the assistance are giving off of bangus fingerlings, bangus fry and tilapia fingerlings.

BFAR 7’s adaptive response measures include conserve, reuse and recycle water efficiently, select for short-cycle production, implement water sharing, improve fish seed quality and efficiency and develop new line of breeds.

Edgardo Delfin, head of BFAR 7 marine division, said they are now readying the fingerlings that they will distribute to the aqua-culture industry to replace those damaged by El Nino.

Delfin said that after El Niño, the fisherfolks, fishpond operators and seaweeds planters shall now make contingency plans together with BFAR especially that after El Niño, La Niña will follow.

On the other hand, Gallicana Toston of the BFAR fisheries production division, said they are also monitoring possible red tide because of El Niño especially in Bogo City and Medellin Bay and other parts of Central Visayas.

“During El Nino, it is considered as a very stressful time for the different marine species,” Toston said.

Marid Ruinara, officer-in-charge of the BFAR special concerns and projects, said that the dispersal of fingerlings will be this coming May and June.

He said they still have backyard fish raising for Tilapia and other varieties for families who have the facilities.

The Cebu City Government will be holding a massive distribution of potable water in the mountain barangays who have been experiencing no water supply due to El Nino.

City Legal Office Chief Jerone Castillo who heads the Water is Life Task Force said the special operation will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m.

The group will be delivering 500 20-liter containers to the City’s four relocation sites in Barangay Buhisan and in Barangay Budlaan, all in the north district.

The operation is expected to benefit 200 families.

Castillo said the operation will continue especially that the Pagasa made a forecast that the dry spell will be experienced until June and there will be no intervening rains within the said period.

Harold Alcontin, a member of the task force, said some 10 pick-up service vehicles from the barangays will be joining them tomorrow for the water distribution.

If there are service vehicles from the urban barangays that can be made available also for the activity, Alcontin said they are also welcome to join.

Mura man ni’g (This is like) barangayan, bayanihan,” he said in a separate interview.

Alcontin said they will first deliver water to the families in the relocation sites in Budlaan before proceeding to Binaliw.

“Actually, mao gyud ni sila atong gi-prioritize kay sila may wa pa gyuy nakuha nga tubig,” he said.

The water that will be delivered to the families will last them for several days, depending on their daily water usage.

The supply will be taken from the water plant of the Pilipinas Water Resources Inc. (PWRI) at the South Road Properties. The supplier pledged to give 8,000 cubic meters of water per day for free to the city.

After tomorrow’s activity, Alcontin said they will also do massive water distribution in the south district.

Initially, the task force plans to provide potable water to the relocation sites of the city in the upper areas of Barangay Tisa among others.

He said they will be coordinating with the Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra on the matter.

Meanwhile, the task force reported that they have already delivered around 600 to 700 containers of 20-liter potable water for the past several weeks.

Among the areas they have served, based on those who have requested for water, are Sitio Laray in Barangay Carreta; Sitios Tambis, Upper Kawayan, Lower Kawayan, Sto. Niño, Tambis, San Roque and Urgello in Sambag II; and Sitios Nava, Pagtiabangay II, Alaska, Pailub, Ipil-Ipil, Huyong-Huyong, Viking, Tinabangay I and II, Abya, Wangyo, Lawid and Tangke in Mambaling.

In Sawang Calero, they have already served sitios Block 4, 5, 6 and 7; Sitios Plaza, Fatima and Upper Panabang in Apas; Sitio Sacred Heart in Capitol Site; Tejero Elementary School in Barangay Tejero; and Sitio Bugnay in Sta. Cruz.