Basilan under state of calamity due to drought

Roel Pareño, John Unson - The Philippine Star
Basilan under state of calamity due to drought
A wildfire in Lamitan City, one of six in different areas in Basilan province in the past three weeks that razed vast swaths of grasslands, bushes and rubber plantations made dry by absence of rain since February.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

MANILA, Philippines —  The entire island province of Basilan has been placed under a state of calamity due to drought amid the El Niño phenomenon.

Gov. Hajiman Hataman-Salliman made the declaration after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved yesterday the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).

Salliman said the state of calamity declaration would allow the provincial government and local government units in 11 towns and two cities in the province to draw from their respective disaster funds to address the effects of the dry spell.

“We have to act immediately to cushion the effect of the dry spell in the province,” he said.

Nixon Alonzo, PDRRMC officer, said the cost of damage to agriculture has yet to be determined.

Alonzo said almost all agricultural and aqua-marine farms experienced low production due to the dry spell.

He said rivers and creeks, which are common sources of irrigation, have dried up.

Low water supply was reported in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan as well as Maluso town.

As of last week, 18 local government units have declared a state of calamity due to drought.

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