ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY IN STATE OF CALAMITY DUE TO DRY SPELL
IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay – Known as the “Rice Granary of the South”, Zamboanga Sibugay has been placed under a state of calamity as the dry spell continues to wreak havoc on its farmlands.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Tuesday approved the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PRDDMC), enabling provincial legislators to allocate PHP20 million for programs and projects that would cushion the effect of the prolonged dry spell.
Governor Wilter Yap Palma said the affected barangays are mainly rain-fed. Other irrigated areas have already dried up, brought about by the dry spell that began in January.
According to Aurelia Cababat, acting provincial agriculture officer, a total of 2,872 farmers have already lost their crops, estimated to be worth PHP75 million.
A total of 2,375.1 hectares of farmlands planted with rice, corn, rubber, cacao, tobacco, and vegetables have already been damaged by the dry spell, Palma said.
Of the 16 towns of this province, 11 have been severely affected by the prolonged dry spell. These are the municipalities of Kabasalan, RT Lim, and Tungawan that were already placed under a state of calamity. Also severely affected are the municipalities of Diplahan, Siay, Mabuhay, Alicia, Titay, Payao, Buug, and Talusan.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) defines drought as three consecutive months of “way below normal” rainfall or less than 60 percent reduction from average rainfall.
PAGASA said the country is experiencing less rainfall and warmer temperatures due to the El Niño, which is expected to last until the end of May or June. (PNA)