Kabankalan has yet to meet guidelines to declare state of calamity

Kabankalan has yet to meet guidelines to declare state of calamity

An official of Kabankalan City said the city cannot declare a state of calamity yet because it has not yet met the guidelines set by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Councilor Adolfo Mangao Jr., chair of the committee on agriculture, pointed out that the effect of El Niño in the city is highly visible, especially on palay plantation.

"If the mayor and the Office of City Agriculture recommend the declaration of the state of calamity, we will have to study it carefully, as it also needs the approval of the city council,” Mangao said.

He said the damages, based on the report of the City Agriculture Office, are 22 percent of the total area planted with rice in the city, which is still below the area affected to be declared under the state of calamity.

The city government, under the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, has a P1 million budget for El Niño and another budget of P900,000 for the purchase of water pumps.

The city government, Mangao said, has not yet released assistance for the affected farmers.

Earlier, Ricky Muscosa, acting city agriculturist, said their initial data showed that 975 hectares of rice lands and 1,200 rice farmers in 17 of the 32 barangays have been affected by the dry spell in the city.

Muscosa said they are validating the data right now "if it would qualify under the disaster risk reduction guidelines."

Under Memorandum Order No. 60 of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council

and Republic Act 10121, the declaration of a state of calamity is based on its impact on the population, livelihoods, infrastructure, and the environment.

Muscosa said the data they have collected "cannot yet support a declaration of a state of calamity."*

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