Cebu Province under state of calamity due to El Niño

NOT ENOUGH WATER. Farmer Emelio Secretaria of Sudlon 2, Cebu City has decided to give away these tomatoes, saying that the drought brought by the El Niño weather phenomenon affected their growth, making them unsalable.
NOT ENOUGH WATER. Farmer Emelio Secretaria of Sudlon 2, Cebu City has decided to give away these tomatoes, saying that the drought brought by the El Niño weather phenomenon affected their growth, making them unsalable. SunStar File/Arkeen M. Larisma

THE Cebu Provincial Government has placed the entire Cebu province under a state calamity due to the “devastating” damage caused by the El Niño phenomenon in the past months.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed Executive Order 9, series of 2024 on Thursday, May 23, 2024, days after announcing last week the Province’s plan to declare the state of calamity.

The Provincial Board also issued a resolution on Monday, May 20, calling for such declaration, which was also a result of a meeting between the governor and all municipal and component city mayors on Thursday, May 23.

Under the state of calamity, municipalities and component cities under the Provincial Government's jurisdiction will have access to calamity and quick relief funds to boost programs and projects to mitigate the impacts of the prolonged drought.

The Provincial Government has allocated P3 million in financial assistance to each town and component cities amid the weather phenomenon.

“It's obvious nga bisan pag mouwan, the damage has been done already,” Garcia said.

She urged the local chief executives to prioritize the distribution of assistance in the form of food packs and other basic needs, instead of cash assistance to their constituents.

In the same meeting, the Department of Agriculture Central Visayas (DA 7) executive director Angel Enriquez reported that the agency has recorded at least 13,589 farmers in the province affected by El Niño.

Enriquez said that based on the submitted reports from 44 local government units, the weather phenomenon caused P194 million worth of total damage to the province's crops and livestock production, particularly on high-value crops, corn, and rice planted in 6,831 hectares.

The high-value crop amounted to the highest damaged values of around P113 million, she said.

Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena said that P179 million worth of damaged crops were recorded in the province, affecting 13,438 farmers.

For fisheries and aquafarms, the El Niño caused 1.9 million worth of damage, affecting 537 farmers, while P3.9 million worth of damage to livestock and poultry was recorded, affecting 414 farmers.

In total, P185 million worth of damage was recorded by the Provincial Agriculture Office, affecting 14,389 farmers from 33 LGUs that have submitted their reports.

These figures will increase as nine LGUs have recently submitted their reports, which have been reviewed by the Provincial Agriculture Office. (EHP)

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