Cebu News

Pesquera wants city to prepare for drought

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu City Council has called upon various agencies to prepare for future droughts that may affect local farmers like the recent El Niño phenomenon.

In a privilege speech, Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera presented several approaches the city government can implement to prepare for the dry season.

Pesquera highlighted that although she is not the chairman of the committee on agriculture, she took the liberty of directing her consultant to look into the projects that may cushion the impacts of El Niño.

The council’s majority floor leader presented various plans, including laying down the seven rivers the Cebu City have as sources of water---Guadalupe, Lahug, Kamputhaw, Kinalumsan, Mahiga, Estero de Parian, Butuanon, and Bulacao. She also included the Central Cebu rivers-- Cotcot and Mananga.

According to her, the Cebu City rivers cover about 5% of its total area wherein 30% of which is used for domestic needs while 40% is used for agricultural irrigation. She added that these rivers may be utilized onwards in coming up with plans to counter the challenges of drought season.

Pesquera expressed that it is high time that the farmers will be equipped with plans as the most recent El Niño has “severely” hurt them leading to huge financial losses.

Despite the city government declaration of state of calamity, farmers still struggled due to water shortage resulting in inadequate irrigation and crop damage.

With the recent drought, Pesquera said the farmers in the upland have experienced severe crop damage, financial losses, water shortage, dependence on rainfall, and physical strain.

According to Pesquera, there are techniques and methods that the farmers can take advantage of during the rainy season. She, however, emphasized the need for support from the city government.

Among these are the small water impounding project, small diversion dams, small farm reservoirs, water pipes attached to a water motor, and water tank placed at the highest elevation for easy distribution.

She also presented strategies that the farmers may apply namely - construction of small-scale irrigation facilities, utilizing local water bodies, multi-purpose use of irrigation structures, and long-term agricultural development.

Aside from these, Pesquera also gave emphasis on the harvesting of rainwater, reiterating the need to take advantage of the rainfalls. She also highlighted the need to improve farming practices as well as reforestation.

“So naa’y mga pamaagi aron to enhance as well as to ensure that our environment is well-balanced,” said Pesquera.

She also noted the provision of incentives to farmers. Further, Pesquera said that the farmers also have to adopt innovation in their farming practices using the technology.

“Right now, we no longer have the research in our city agriculture department and it is high time that we have to revive that,” she said.

Pesquera, through a resolution, then urged the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) to conduct an inspection and prepare the works and estimate for the establishment of rainwater harvesting facility in the upland areas.

Councilor Philip Zafra also raised his hopes that concerned agencies may take on the need to implement measures against the El Niño. He also brought up the need to rehabilitate the roads in the mountain barangays for the programs to reach the remote areas.

Pesquera also asked the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) to identify the barangays in the mountain areas that the city government can develop into a forest.

She likewise requested the CAD to prepare specific plans and activities to implement the strategies she presented. (CEBU NEWS)

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