Cebu News

P11.3M eyed to combat locusts

Mae Clydyl L. Avila - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Should locusts and black army worms continue to attack some of Cebu’s agricultural areas, the Provincial Agriculture Office might be forced to use the P11.3 million environmental sanitation budget from the Provincial Health Office to contain the infestations.

PHO head Dr. Cynthia Genosolango said if the infestation spreads further, they will step in to assess the areas in preparation for chemical application.

Genosolango, however, made it clear that they will not allow children and elderly persons, who are prone to respiratory diseases, to be exposed to dangerous chemicals.

According to Current Biology journal, locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances become more abundant and change their behavior and habits, becoming gregarious. Armyworms are caterpillar pests of grass pastures and cereal crops.

The provincial government has sent chemicals to buffer the spread of locusts in the towns of Pilar, San Remigio, Bantayan, Santa Fe and San Francisco.

In these towns, damages brought about by the infestations currently stand at P1.7 million, covering over 82 hectares of corn crops.

Bantayan and Santa Fe already declared a state of calamity so they can use their calamity funds to prevent further damages.

More recently, the towns of Asturias and Argao reported locust infestation.

Argao is now currently coordinating with the Capitol for an assessment on the damages.

Provincial agriculturist Roldan Saragena said affected farmers who are not under the Agri-Fishery Insurance Program will receive short maturing crops as a short-term way to replenish the damage while those who have availed of the program will go through damage assessment.

The Philippine Insurance Corporation will check if the infested area has been partially or totally damaged and be given the allocated monetary indemnity, according to the results of the assessment.

Saragena said affected areas in Pilar, San Remigio, and San Francisco will be sprayed with chemicals.

On July 22, different municipalities will meet to discuss damage-control plans for infestations. (FREEMAN)



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