Guv orders rapid response to armyworm infestation

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY — Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has mandated the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist to urgently address the armyworm infestation affecting multiple localities in the province’s 5th district.

In a press conference on Thursday, Governor Lacson confirmed that the infestation was monitored last week.

Provincial Agriculturist Dina Genzola reported to the governor that the pest infestation has impacted 125 hectares of sugarcane and corn plantations across three local governments, initially affecting 208 farmers.

Specifically, 82 hectares of sugarcane fields in Himamaylan City and 45 hectares of cornfields in Isabela and Binalbagan towns have been hit by armyworms.

Genzola assured that local government units have been alerted to the pest infestation.

Armyworms are highly destructive pests named for their army-like movement through agricultural fields.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), they primarily consume turf grass but will devour any vegetation in their path.

Negros Occidental 5th District Rep. Emilio Bernardino Yulo linked the armyworm outbreaks to climatic changes, particularly the El Niño phenomenon followed by subsequent rains.

Yulo emphasized that the spraying of insecticides is critical to preventing the infestation from spreading to other local government units (LGUs).

Efforts to contain the infestation have already commenced. The spraying of chemicals on affected sugarcane and corn plantations has begun in Sitio Iling-Iling, Barangay Cabadiangan, Himamaylan City, in collaboration with the Sugar Regulatory Administration and private chemical companies.

While Himamaylan, Binalbagan, and Isabela are confirmed to be affected, Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Garcia Yulo denied reports of armyworm infestations in the town’s farmlands.

Local authorities continue to monitor the situation closely to mitigate further damage and support affected farmers.