Iloilo braces for state of calamity amid El Niño Impact

(Francis Allan L. Angelo photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Officials are poised to declare Iloilo province under a state of calamity due to the detrimental impacts of El Niño.

Rolando Distura, 4th district Board Member, and Cornelio Salinas, head of the Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), have both acknowledged the harsh effects on agriculture, fisheries, livelihood, and water supply that warrant the declaration.

Already, the municipalities of Sara, Estancia, and Bingawan have proclaimed a state of calamity due to the phenomenon.

Sara was the first to announce on April 12, followed by Estancia and Bingawan, as they face severe drought and critical water shortages.

Distura, chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, emphasized that the declaration would mobilize the calamity fund to aid affected residents.

“We need to help the agriculture and fisheries sectors, which bear the brunt of El Niño’s effects,” he asserted.

Transportation has also suffered disruptions due to the prevailing conditions.

The PDRRM Council is scheduled to meet on April 29 to deliberate further on this issue, potentially endorsing a province-wide state of calamity to the Iloilo Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Salinas mentioned the role of data in this decision-making process: “Statistical data…will guide the council members on whether to endorse the declaration.”

Region 6’s Office of Civil Defense reports that El Niño has already impacted 186,273 individuals, including those in Iloilo City.

The province of Iloilo has borne the brunt of damage to agriculture, amounting to P519 million, affecting 10,116 farmers and fisherfolk.