NegOcc Lawmaker brands BSWM ‘inept’ over drought response

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Rep. Emilio Bernardino “Dino” Yulo of the 5th district of Negros Occidental, has labeled the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas (DA-6) as an inept government office.

This, after the agency ruled out cloud seeding as a solution to the ongoing drought that has been damaging crops and sugar farms in the province.

“Uyaya klase nga government department,” Yulo said in expressing his frustration to reporters in Himamaylan City during the weekend, where he and Mayor Rogelio Tongson joined Senator Bong Go in inspecting infrastructure projects.

He criticized the BSWM officials for only now beginning to prepare a response to the drought.

“Ang problema sila man nag ako nga subong lang sila nag preparar, uyaya klase government department,” he reiterated.

Yulo also conveyed his disappointment with BSWM’s decision against recommending cloud seeding, citing what he termed a “very flimsy reason” that there were no seedable clouds and that cloud seeding could affect flowering mango groves in Guimaras.

He argues that southern Negros, far from Guimaras, warrants a risk-benefit analysis to assess the broader situation.

The lawmaker highlighted that the drought, intensified by the El Niño phenomenon, is having a widespread impact on the sugar industry, especially in the fifth district, although he could not provide an estimated cost of the damage.

Contrary to the BSWM’s stance, Yulo claimed that there are times when rain clouds appear over southern Negros, suggesting that cloud seeding could be a viable option. “Dapat ila ni nakit- an,” he noted.

His greatest frustration, Yulo said, is the defeatist attitude suggested by claims that the drought should be simply accepted as part of climate change. He emphasized the need for the government to actively fight for its citizens, especially when they need support the most.

“That is why it is so disappointing hearing it from a government office tasked to be our partner in this situation,” Yulo concluded.