THE onslaught of El Niño phenomenon to the agriculture and fisheries sector has forced the municipality of Bingawan in Iloilo to declare a state of calamity during a special session on Monday.
The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Bingawan decided to place the entire municipality under a state of calamity upon the request of Mayor Mark Palabrica.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Palabrica said that almost all sectors of the municipality from agriculture, livestock, and fisheries have been suffering great losses due to the long dry spell.
“Our total losses is already P53,172,976, covering rice losses worth P37,947,976; corn P1,719,300; livestock P380,700; and fisheries P3,000,125,” he said.
Palabrica said animals like hens and even tilapia and other inland freshwater fishes were lost because of extreme heat.
He added that more than 25 units of small farm reservoir in Bingawan were also affected by El Niño.
“Bingawan was cited by the Department of Agriculture as a small farm reservoir. More than 25 units of small farm reservoir were affected by El Niño,” he said.
Upon the declaration of the state of calamity, Palabrica said the local government also laid down eight mitigating measures to combat the effects of El Niño.
“We set eight mitigating measures. First is on population, to extend immediate relief operations to affected farmers and their families by purchasing rice for their consumption; to supply potable water to affected households; and operation and improvement of water system,” he said.
The other mitigating measures, according to Palabrica, are the following:
Agriculture – purchase rice seeds and vegetable seeds to be distributed to affected farmers and all affected population; seminars and trainings on agriculture and provision of irrigation facilities and equipment;
Engineering – construction and rehabilitation of damaged small farm reservoirs; improvement of farm-to-market roads going to small farm reservoirs;
Health – purchase of influenza, hypertension and other medicines; availability of fuel and ambulance for emergencies;
Security – proactive implementation of security measures against burglary and other crimes due to the inadequacy of household and personal income;
Fire prevention – proactive implementation on fire prevention measures against too much heat;
Activation of Disaster Risk Reduction Management Operations Center 24 hours for seven days a week;
Information and dissemination campaign on the effects of El Niño by all LGU department.
Palabrica added that the declaration would also allow them to access the calamity fund worth P3,455, 264.08 and aid in the rehabilitation of the affected sectors.
But Palabrica said the fund is not sufficient.
“I think the fund is not sufficient, ang target naton is also to request financial assistance from other national agencies, Iloilo provincial government, national government, and other non-government organizations (NGOs),” he said.
With the implementation of the mitigating measures, Palabrica said they will be employing a long term approach and the calamity fund may not be enough to cover the rehabilitation.