CDRRMC declares state of calamity in 28 barangays

DRY SPELL. The ongoing dry spell that Cebu is experiencing  has resulted in the lack of water in several mountain barangays in Cebu City, killing crops and forcing farmers to stop planting.
DRY SPELL. The ongoing dry spell that Cebu is experiencing has resulted in the lack of water in several mountain barangays in Cebu City, killing crops and forcing farmers to stop planting.SunStar File

SEVERAL mountain barangays in Cebu City are suffering from a lack of water and experiencing incidents of bush fires as a result of the dry hot season.

This prompted the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) to pass a resolution declaring 28 barangays under a state of calamity following the adverse impact of the weather phenomenon El Niño on the farmers in these areas.

These include the barangays of Budlaan, Binaliw, Paril, Taptap, Pulangbato, Guba, Cambinocot, Pamutan, Sirao, Sapangdaku, Sudlon 1, Sudlon 2, Bonbon, Buot, and Tagbao.

City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin, in a phone interview on Sunday, March 24, 2024, said over 500 farmers have stopped planting their usual crops due to damage caused by the lack of water which is a result of the dry spell.

He was unable to provide a complete list of affected barangays.

In an earlier report, City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon said there are 115 hectares of farm lands in the 28 barangays affected by the extreme weather condition as of March.

There are currently 10,719 registered farmers in Cebu City growing lettuce, cabbages, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplants, sweet corn and tomatoes, among others.

According to a previous SunStar report, Cebu City’s agriculture industry could produce between P500,000 to P1 million worth of crops daily.

The figures could go as high as more than a million a day during peak season.

“We have to act now. We will not wait for the worse to come,” Alcontin said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Alcontin said the CDRRMC resolution has been endorsed to the office of City Councilors Phillip Zafra and Joel Garganera for the City Council to adopt it.

Once the council declares these barangays under a state of calamity, Alcontin said the barangays can use their calamity funds, while the City Government can use its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF).

He said the City currently has P600 million in its calamity and quick response fund and P100 million in its LDRRMF.

He said Mayor Michael Rama instructed them to first use the P100 million LDRRMF, considering it’s only the first quarter of the year.

The City Agriculture Department (CAD) has prepared P97 million which will be used for assistance to the farmers.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Baclayon on Sunday to get more details, but to no avail.

Alcontin said one of the measures they are implementing now is distributing water in the mountain barangays.

He said they are also coordinating with the Metropolitan Cebu Water District to deploy their trucks for water rations in Barangays Buot and Pulangbato.

In previous reports, Baclayon said 40 percent of the city’s food supply come from its mountain barangays.

Alcontin said one of their assignments is to ensure that the city’s food supply is not hampered, hence the declaration of a state of calamity.

Alcontin said the CAD and the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries are also tasked to ensure food supplies in the city remain stable amid the El Niño.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) declared on Friday, March 22, the start of the “Philippine Summer.”

Alfredo Quiblat Jr., chief of Pagasa Visayas, earlier announced that Cebu has officially been under a dry spell since the last week of February.

A dry spell refers to three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, or a drop of 21 percent to 60 percent, or two consecutive months of way below-normal rainfall, or a drop of more than 60 percent.

The El Niño phenomenon leads to decreased precipitation or, in some cases, a complete absence of rainfall, which can significantly impact crop yields and pose various environmental and economic challenges.

Pagasa also warned that the phenomenon may persist until the end of May. (JJL)


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