2 Negros cities to aid farmers hit by dry spell

INSPECTION. Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr. (right) of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental during the conduct of an ocular inspection of available water resources last week. The city government is providing financial assistance to affected farmers and delivering drinking water to households whose water supply has been reduced due to the dry spell.
INSPECTION. Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr. (right) of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental during the conduct of an ocular inspection of available water resources last week. The city government is providing financial assistance to affected farmers and delivering drinking water to households whose water supply has been reduced due to the dry spell. HIMAMAYLAN LGU PHOTO

BACOLOD CITY – Two cities in southern Negros Occidental, whose rice farms are among the worst-hit by the dry spell, are set to provide assistance to affected farmers.

Latest data of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) showed that Kabankalan City recorded an estimated damage of PHP22.834 million, affecting 504 farmers, while Himamaylan City posted a PHP3.732-million damage, with 110 farmers affected.

In a statement on Friday, Kabankalan City Mayor Benjie Miranda said the City Agriculture Office is conducting an assessment of the extent of the damage to determine the assistance that will be provided to the farmers.

“We are waiting for their recommendation. We are considering the declaration of a state of calamity since the crops are really affected,” he said.

Miranda added there are farmers insured with Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) with the assistance of the city government.

In the neighboring Himamaylan City, Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr. said in a statement that they are processing the release of financial assistance from the city’s El Niño fund and the claims of the affected farmer-families in eight barangays from the PCIC.

The mayor earlier led the ocular visits in four barangays to check the needs of the affected communities.

“The city government is identifying possible water resources and coming up with projects to provide aid to Himamaylanons,” Tongson said, adding that drinking water is also being delivered to affected households.

The water supply of some 8,507 families or 30,825 individuals from artesian wells has already been affected by the dry spell.

“We are conducting a joint monitoring led by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and City Agriculture Office to constantly update the working data,” the mayor said.

Last month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said in a report that Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, is seen to experience drought from the end of February to May this year.

A dry spell situation is characterized by below-normal rainfall conditions for three consecutive months while drought is characterized by a rainfall condition below normal for five consecutive months.

As of Feb. 26, damage to rice crops in Negros Occidental has already reached PHP55.255 million, according to the OPA report. (PNA)

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