Over Php 27 million worth of assistance had been given to El Niño-affected towns and cities in the entire province of Cebu last year utilizing Cebu Provincial Government’s entire quick response fund.
El Niño, or dry spell, started to affect eight towns in Cebu last March 2015 prompting the declaration of state of calamity for the entire Province.
Different stakeholders immediately gathered together in the first Provincial Water Summit conducted by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) where they came up with a year-long emergency response plan for El Niño.
“El Niño is a creeping disaster, hinay apan sakit kaayo ug epekto (slow but with painful effects),” expressed PDRRMO chief Baltazar Tribunalo.
About Php 58 million worth of crops and Php 12 million worth of livestock were damaged by El Niño in the province last year.
It also dried lands and dropped water levels in North and Central Cebu.
PDRRMO distributed almost Php 10 million worth of water tanks, polyethylene hoses, jerry cans, sprinklers, water pumps and pipes to 32 towns in the province.
Tribunalo said these supplies helped in the augmentation of water supply in the farmers’ homes and farms.
“Na gamit gyud nila ang mga jerry cans, hoses pagpanghakot ug tubig (They were able to use the jerry cans and hoses in fetching water from nearby sources),” he said.
He further shared that some local government units had been making rounds in the barangays and puroks on board Capitol-provided multicabs to deliver water rations.
The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office was also able to distribute Php 8 million worth of food packs and drinking water and Php 3 million worth of school supplies to affected families.
Veterinary vitamins, drugs and other supplies amounting to Php 1.6 million were given to all towns and cities through the Provincial VeterinaryOffice to protect farmers’ livestock.
About Php 94 thousand worth of forage were also distributed to ensure food for the livestock.
The Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) also distributed about Php 4 million worth of quality vegetable seeds, grafted mango, cacao, banana suckers and sweet potato cuttings.
“We also allocated funds to purchase standby chemicals to fight off pests that attack growing vegetables in case of pest infestations that cannot be controlled by organic means. We want to protect the crops,” said Jack Jakosalem of PAO.
In partnership with Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), Cebu Province was able to provide 14,000 farmers and fishermen commodity and life insurance through the Agri-Fishery Insurance Program (AFIP) in 2015 alone.
“Insured farmers and fishermen were able to get Php 1.8 million worth of claims for their crops and commodities damaged by the drought last year,” reported Jakosalem.
He added that PCIC is currently looking into the possibility of including other means of livelihood of farmers and fishermen in the coverage of their insurance.
Tribunalo urged insured farmers and fishermen affected by the drought to claim their insurance from PCIC bringing along the proof of damage to their crops and commodities.