Cebu News

Cebu guv to issue declaration: State of calamity

Le Phyllis F. Antojado-Orillaneda - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is placing the province under a state of calamity because of the effects of the unusually high heat index and temperature and the ongoing El Niño phenomenon being experienced in the island.

She is set to issue an executive order for the declaration, which would be followed by a resolution that the Provincial Board would approve next week.

"This prompts us to think about ways and means of addressing this huge challenge, not necessarily giving ayuda. But we will be helping farmers help themselves. That is the culture that we wish to nurture in the entire province, not the culture of mendicancy. You only get lazy people from that," Garcia said on the declaration.

Cebu province farmers and fisherfolks that are affected by the drought are insured through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), with the Provincial Government paying the premium.

The Cebu Provincial Agriculturist's Office (PAO) has reported that damage to crops and aquafarms due to El Niño has now reached P176.8 million.

The same report also stated that 12, 312 fishermen and farmers are affected by the dry spell.  In particular, the affected rice and corn farmers numbered 3, 676, and loss of crops is at P82.4 million. As to root crops, 254 farmers are affected.

For vegetables, damage is at P62.8 million, while that for fruit trees like cacao, banana, mango and guyabano is P27.9 million.

Meanwhile, damage to aquafarms, including those for tilapia and seaweeds, was pegged at P887,300, with 24 affected fisherfolks.

The damage assessment, however, is still a partial consolidated report as of May 16, as it was just from 32 local government units.

Aside from damage to Cebu’s agriculture, the Capitol is also addressing the water crisis being experienced in the island, especially in metro Cebu.

The Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) had already announced a 60,000-cubic-meter shortfall because of the drying up of the Mananga and Lusaran rivers.

Garcia said the provincial government would increase the capacity of water resources by desilting the Luyang River in Carmen town, which is the major water source of Metro Cebu franchise areas of MCWD.

The Capitol also issued special permits to six contractors to desilt and clear a 15-kilometer portion of the Mananga River and a 6.5-kilometer stretch of the Lusaran River to extract water.

Garcia said they already inspected the rivers to find out the cause of it drying up.

"It's just that it's (water) trapped underneath and it's not too deep you just have to take out the surface cover," the governor said.

She is also set to meet the Cebu province mayors next week to discuss what specific actions they should also take to help address the effects of El Niño. (CEBU NEWS)

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