Another 3 Iloilo towns declare state of calamity due to El Niño

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THE LOCAL governments of Januiay, Sta. Barbara, and Maasin have placed their respective municipalities under a state of calamity due to El Niño, following two other towns — Bingawan and Lambunao — in Iloilo that made the declaration in March and earlier this month. Januiay Mayor Jose Lam de Paula said their assessment indicates that 40 of the 60 barangays in their town have been affected, including 986 farmers, with agricultural losses estimated at P43 million. Mr. De Paula also said that all 60 barangays are suffering from water shortage. In Sta. Barbara, 52 of the 60 barangays are affected, according to Mayor Dennis S. Superficial. “Our estimated loss is at P21 million and mostly rice crops,” he said, adding that most water sources for household supply have also dried up. Meanwhile, Maasin Mayor Mariano M. Malones said 32 of their 50 barangays called for the declaration of a state of calamity because of the lack of potable water while farm damage is estimated at P4 million.

Mr. De Paula said they will be utilizing P1.4 million out of their calamity fund to implement mitigating measures. The procurement process for food packs is underway, he said, while a water tank that has been included in the regular budget is set to be purchased. Sta. Barbara is preparing to distribute potable water, rice, and medicines to the affected households. In Maasin, the mayor said aside from immediate relief measures, they have also requested the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) for household supply augmentation. — Emme Rose Santiagudo

In Cebu City, the local agriculture office is procuring farm input and equipment such as water hoses and sprayers, with a total amount of P26.9 million, for affected farmers in the 28 upland barangays. City agriculturist Apple Tribunalo said Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña has already signed the purchase order following to the declaration of a state of calamity. “Right now, we are processing for the emergency procurement,” she said, explaining that under this policy, no public bidding is required to expedite the purchase. Based on the City Agriculturist Office’s assessment, damage is around P27 million as of April, mainly vegetable crops, with 668 farmers affected. Ms. Tribunalo said they have also advised farmers to process their insurance claims. — The Freeman