State of Calamity Declaration: Capitol maps out El Niño implementation plan

After the Provincial Board (PB) approved on Monday, March 25, en masse a resolution declaring the Province of Cebu under a State of Calamity, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and other Capitol offices will now be laying out an implementation plan in order to assist all towns and cities affected by the looming El Niño.

According to Totch de la Cruz, PDRRMO assistant head, they will be meeting with frontline Capitol offices that are members of the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) this Thursday, March 28, to tackle the implementation plan.

The resolution declaring the Province under a State of Calamity, proposed by PB Member Jovito Ouano, cited the necessity of such a move in order to provide assistance to affected sectors to minimize the adverse effects of El Niño.

The PDRMMC, headed by Gov. Hilario P. Davide III, declared Cebu Province last February 28 under the State of Preparedness after several farmers and fishermen in some towns have initially reported of crop damage and fish kills. Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale said some towns reported that some rivers have dried up, consequently affecting the daily water supply.

Both Davide and Magpale ordered for all Capitol departments to closely look into the situation and immediately respond to the affected sectors.

Last March 18, the PDRRMO, together the Provincial Agriculture Office, Provincial Veterinary Office, Provincial Engineering Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources and local government units (LGUs) conducted initial scooping in 51 LGUs on the initial negative impacts or damages and the potential impacts in agricultural products (crops, livestock), fishery and water resources. These sectors are considered vulnerable to damages and losses during disasters.

Out of the 51 LGUs under the Provincial Government, 27 have declared to have suffered damages and losses, which in total has reached an estimated amount of P100 million, said PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo. Of the estimated amount, P25 million is on agricultural damage, specifically corn produce. 

The cities that have reported damages are: Mandaue, Danao, Carcar and Toledo, while the towns are: Asturias, Alcantara, Aloguinsan, Alcoy, Argao, Balamban, Dumanjug, Sogod, Dalaguete, San Remegio, Sibonga, Tuburan, Tabuelan, Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bantayan, Carmen, Madridejos, Santa Fe, Consolacion, Compostela, Boljoon and Minglanilla.

With the declaration of the State of Calamity, Tribunalo said the PDRRMO can tap the available P59 million from its calamity fund. Out of the said amount, P20 to P25 million can be used for the purchase of needed materials and equipment, as well as support programs that could help the affected farmers and fishermen like the “cash-for-work” program.

During the PB session, two other complementary “dry spell” resolutions were also passed. These are supporting the call of Sen. Richard Gordon in urging all local chief executives throughout the country to prepare for the El Niño effects, and supporting the House Bill 8088 that seeks to require commercial establishments and residents to install rainwater catching facilities.

The PB also urged LGUs to conduct information drive on the effects of the prolonged heat and what they can do to control the damage that will be caused by this phenomenon.

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