The dry spell brought about by the El Niño phenomenon affected several cities, towns and barangays in Cebu, including Barangay Garing in Consolacion whose barangay captain lamented the lack of water supply.
“The demand for water is higher than the demand for food nowadays. We need water to grow food. Right now, we check our gardens and those from the neighboring barangays in order to gather food to eat,” Garing Barangay Captain Ronaldo Alimoren of Consolacion said in Cebuano.
Cebu Provincial Government continues to distribute food packs and assorted vegetable seeds to affected households throughout the province.
Last June 24, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office distributed 1,500 food packs to nine barangays in Consolacion town, namely Garing, Lanipga, Tilhaong, Panas, Polog, Panoypoy, Danglag, Cabangalan, and Tolotolo.
A farmer scientist training program (FSTP) graduate recalled that during the dry spell they could not afford to plant their seedlings for fear that they might just die.
“We are looking for ways to harvest, even just a little. We used intercropping method and planted drought-resistant crops,” said Lolita Cortes, a farmer and now on her Phase II of the Farmer Scientist Training Program (FSTP).
“We noticed that some of our fruit trees withered so we delayed planting. What we did is prepare our farms for the planting season,” she added.
Most of the people in the mountainous barangays of the municipality are farmers and hog raisers. Both livelihood demands a constant source of water.
Rebecca Hocotmaya, 44, a hog raiser from barangay Lanipga also said that the flow of water in their place was hard for the months of April and May.
“Nag-rotation man sa agas sa tubig dinhi matag barangay. Kami kung maligo o manglaba dili namo iyabo ang sobra nga tubig kay gamiton namo og limpyo sa among mga tangkal (We had rotational water supply for every barangay. When we do our dishes and laundry, we put the used water into cleaning our piggery),” Hocotmaya explained.
Hocotmaya’s only source of income is raising hogs and piglets. The limited flow of water gave her hard times especially when she has four hogs and 13 piglets for fattening.
This is also true for Anjie Cantiro, 29, who is raising 30 piglets.
“Tipid gyud sa tubig kay lisod kaayo manimaho ang mga tangkal, moreklamo unya ang mga silingan unya makadaot sad mohanggab sa baho (We have to save our water and use it wisely; we can’t compromise our business,” she said.
Luzviminda Ancajas, 51, a farmer from barangay Tilha-ong was very grateful of the food packs that she received last Wednesday.
The vegetables that they planted like okra, spinach, eggplant, tomato, and corn suffered from the dry spell. As a result, Luzviminda’s husband resorted to doing other jobs for the meantime.
“Kining gipanghatag gikan sa kapitolyo bisan ginagmay apan dawaton ko ni nga kinasing-kasing. Nagpasalamat ko nga nakahinumdom tawn ang gobyerno sa probinsya kanamo(I’m thankful to the Provincial Government for these food packs. It may be limited but this is a great help for us),” Ancajas shared with a teary eye.
Mayor Teresita Alegado was present during the distribution and offered encouraging words for the people in the barangays.
“Ako nasayod nga naglisod gyud ta sa tubig sa mga miaging buwan mao nang kinahanglan ta mag-ampo gyud aron magpadayon na kining ulan nga atong nasinati karon ug makapananom na atong mga mang-uuma (I know that we are having difficulties with our water supply in the past months, which is why we need to pray for the rains to come),” Mayor Alegado said.
Representatives from Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Development Office (PDRRMO), Provincial Agriculturist’s Office (PAO),barangay officials, and Barangay Health Workers (BHW) were also present during the activity.