LAMBUNAO is the second town in Iloilo province to declare a state of calamity on April 8, 2018 due to the drought caused by El Niño phenomenon.
Mayor Jason Gonzales said the Sangguniang Bayan, upon the endorsement of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC), made the declaration.
Bingawan was the first town to be placed under a state of calamity because of El Niño.
According to Gonzales, their agricultural losses due to El Niño reached P164,107,800, affecting about 3,588 farmers.
“Our total agricultural losses in value is P164 million, mostly covering rice, corn, bananas, and various vegetables,” he said.
Gonzales said that El Niño affected 4,140 households or more than 20 percent of their households.
He added that 30 percent of the households are also suffering from water shortage since most of the water sources have dried up.
With the declaration, the town can now use its calamity fund to address the immediate concerns of the affected residents.
Gonzales said they will use the P9 million calamity fund to purchase additional fire trucks to address the lack of access to potable water among the resident.
Part of the plan is to identity new water sources through deep well and dug well excavation, Gonzales added.
But he lamented that the P9-million calamity fund is not enough to provide interventions for the affected farmers.
Despite this, Gonzales assured that they will continue to find ways to extend help to the affected residents.
Next week, Gonzales said they will be meeting with the barangays to orient them on the utilization of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRM Fund).
As a long-term plan, the mayor added that they are planning to build around 50-100 (small farm reservoir) which will serve as water collecting ponds and will catch water to augment the needs of the farmers.
As of March 31, 2019, the total rice losses in the province due to El Niño has surged to P1.026 billion according to Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Elias Sandig.
Sandig said the value is equivalent to 62,791 metric tons (MT) of rice crops affecting 27,063 hectares of rice crops.
The total damage was based on the reports submitted to the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) by the 42 local government units (LGUs) across the province including one component and one chartered city, Sandig said.