Iloilo City is 12th LGU to declare state of calamity due to extreme heat

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

Iloilo City has joined 11 other local government units in Western Visayas in declaring a state of calamity on Monday, April 22, in response to the ongoing extreme heat brought by the El Niño phenomenon.

The Sangguniang Panglungsod ratified the declaration in a special session following the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (CDRRMC) April 17 recommendation.

Citing CDRRMC Resolution No. 7, series of 2024, the declaration was based on the city government’s Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA) tool, which reported water scarcity affecting approximately 23,230 people in 25 most drought-prone villages (total population of 95,644).

With a P12.54 million Quick Response Fund allocation, Iloilo City plans to distribute 696,900 liters of water, allotting 15 liters per day for three months to the 25 most affected villages and their neighbors at risk of losing communal water supply.

Councilor Rudolph Jeffrey Ganzon, during the session, acknowledged that the 15 liters per person might be insufficient but stressed it as a preliminary measure.

In dialogue with Councilor Urminico Baronda Jr., Ganzon emphasized the city council’s readiness to address potential shortages, recognizing the standard 30 liters per day needed per person for domestic use.

“This is lacking, but this is our immediate response to be able to utilize and address the current situation. But we are expecting that in the next 3 months, this will be lacking, and the [CDRRMC] is monitoring this and give feedback to [the city council],” Ganzon said.

Iloilo City’s action marks it as the twelfth Western Visayas LGU to declare such a state due to El Niño, following Antique’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s declaration on April 18.

Also under the same declaration are Anini-y, Laua-an, San Remigio, Sibalom, and Tobias Fornier in Antique; Buenavista and San Lorenzo in Guimaras; Estancia and Sara in Iloilo province; and San Enrique, Negros Occidental

The Office of Civil Defense-Region 6 reported agricultural losses amounting to P770.59 million, impacting 20,610 farmers and 15,583.19 hectares of crops.

Affecting 584,573 individuals in the region, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has distributed 32,391 family food packs, totaling P18.41 million, to assist those affected by the extreme temperatures.