EL NIÑO RAZES NEGOCC, MILLIONS OF CROPS LOST
BACOLOD CITY – Almost PHP443 million in production where lost to farmers in Negros Occidental due to the extreme heart intensified by the El Niño, per the latest data from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) showed.
The figures include the initial PHP366-million worth of damage to the sugarcane sector, as well as to rice, corn, commercial crops, and fisheries amounting at PHP76.6 million.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said that the OPA Provincial Crop Protection Team and concerned local government units (LGUs) are still conducting field validation.
Masculino said they are also disseminating information to field agriculturists about the weather advisory, particularly on the El Niño.
“Part of our recommendation are continuous field monitoring by LGUs, fallow period during the dry spell, and planting of short-term crops where water is available,” he assured.
As of Friday, losses in the rice sector have reached PHP58.13 million. Affected were 102 farmers with total rice areas of 1,551.06 hectares in 15 LGUs.
Himamaylan City posted the highest production losses of PHP8.7 million while Murcia, which has already declared a state of calamity, reported PHP8.3 million in damage.
Other LGUs with losses include Binalbagan with PHP7.1 million; Cauayan, PHP6.1 million; Hinoba-an, PHP5.2 million; Bago City, PHP4 million; Pontevedra, PHP3.9 million; San Carlos City, PHP3.7 million; Cadiz City, PHP2.4 million; Hinigaran, PHP2.4 million; Ilog, PHP2.2 million; EB Magalona, PHP1.8 million; Sipalay, PHP1.1 million; La Castellana, PHP826,019; and San Enrique, PHP732,990.
The OPA report also showed PHP4.5 million worth of corn losses: affecting 102 farmers planting 91.98 hectares of farms in Sipalay City, San Carlos City and Calatrava town.
A total of 302 farmers planting high-value commercial crops (HVCC) in 37.75-hectare farms in San Carlos City incurred almost PHP1.5 million in losses.
Damage brought by pest and diseases is still at PHP11.5 million.
The fishery sector also incurred production losses due to the prevailing dry spell.
In Bago City, a total of PHP254,900 in losses were reported by tilapia and bangus farms while in EB Magalona, PHP682,992 in losses were reported in bangus production and PHP15,000 worth of damage to fishing vessels.
While in Metro Manila, the water crisis had also affected many business establishments. The Department of Agriculture had already taking measures after linking the season of El Niño, water crisis and the food crisis as one, crucial crisis affecting the entire archipelago.(PNA)
Last first of Apirl, the heads of government agencies presented to President Rodrigo Duterte “roadmap” on water supply-related issues during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, April 1.
A plan to fight the impact of the ongoing El Niño was the first topic taken up at the 36th Cabinet meeting, part of a roadmap presented at the 36th Cabinet meeting of the Duterte administration.
“A roadmap was presented, which included immediate, medium and long-term interventions, such as making an intensive campaign for the conservation of water and energy, creating a Department of Water and a Department of Disaster Resilience,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, explaining the intervention of the palace for the summer crises.
Last March 18 however, Panelo himself thumbed down the idea of creating a Department of Water proposed by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Other ways that the government is planning to have is to ensure water supply during the El Niño is the dredging of waterways and replacing tunnels and aqueducts.
There was also a recommendation to install water tank systems in all hospitals run by the Department of Health. At the peak of the water crisis in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal, hospitals were prioritized in the distribution of water supply due to the urgent needs of patients. (with reports from PNA and Rappler)