El Niño damage to agri sector hits P121.7 million
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Damage to agriculture in Cebu caused by the weak El Niño phenomenon continues to soar despite the intermittent rains, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

Latest estimates from PDRRMO showed P121.7 million damage to crops, livestock and fish production.

Rhee Telen, Jr. of PDRRMO said the data were consolidated from 35 local government units in the province.

The amount is expected to increase in the days to come because several towns and cities have yet to submit their reports. Cebu has 51 towns and component cities.

The data also showed that 13,128 families (or 67,057 individuals), 7,622 farmers and 962 fishermen are reportedly suffering from the crippling effects of this phenomenon.

Telen said Bantayan town in northern Cebu reported the biggest damage amounting to P24 million.

Around 300 hectares of seaweed farms there have been affected by the ice-ice disease, a seaweed disease caused by changes in salinity, ocean temperature and light temperature.

Tuburan town, Cebu’s home to coffee farms, also reported a total damage of P19.9 million to high-value crops and livestock.

To aid the affected towns and cities, Telen said PDRRMO has earmarked P30.2 million to purchase goods and equipment.

He said the amount was sourced from the office's Quick Response Fund, which has an approved budget of P59.1 million for this year.

Of the budget, P10 million was used for the purchase of food items or relief goods, such as rice, canned goods and noodles.

The Provincial Social Welfare Development Office will distribute the goods to affected farmers and fishermen, among others.

Around P1.2 million was also spent for the purchase of vitamins for the livestock, as well as logistical needs of livestock owners. The amount was requested by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian.

The animals would need boosting in their immune system with the intense heat and shortage of water.

Telen said the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, on the other hand, requested P9 million for the acquisition of water containers, water pumps, generator and other needs of farmers.

PDRRMO will also utilize the P10 million for the purchase of additional 2,000 water containers and for the rent of at least three mobile water tankers.

Telen said each drum can store 200 liters of water, while the tanker has a storage capacity of 8,000 to 14,000 liters.

He said the mobile water tankers will be deployed to affected areas, including Tabogon, Borbon, Dalaguete and Camotes Island, within the week or next week.

Telen said the disaster unit also sees the need to provide water to affected upland villages in the southern towns of Santander and Boljoon.

To utilize their calamity funds, at least 16 local government units have already been placed under a state of calamity following the March 25 declaration of Cebu province.

These are the towns of Ginatilan, Minglanilla, Samboan, Catmon, Sogod, Tudela, Dumanjug, Alcoy, Santander, Carmen, Compostela, Asturias and Madridejos; and the cities of Carcar, Talisay and Danao. — KBQ (FREEMAN)

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