Town under state of calamity due to El Niño

Philippine rice research institute/file Photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The local government of Sara has declared a state of calamity due to the agricultural losses incurred from the El Niño phenomenon.

Sara is the first town in the province of Iloilo to make such a declaration in response to El Niño.

This declaration followed a special session convened by the Sangguniang Bayan on the morning of Friday, April 12, based on a resolution recommending for such from the Municipal Risk and Reduction Management Council. The resolution was approved by the town mayor on April 8.

“Sara has been experiencing a prolonged drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon resulting in a critical water shortage and hampering the agricultural sector, causing immense damage of 35 percent in rice and 40 percent in corn, affecting 2,251 farmers,” read part of the resolution.

The Office of the Municipal Agriculture reported losses totaling P34,137,168 from 1,024 hectares of rice fields and P54,635,850 from 1,715 hectares of corn fields.

The resolution also stressed that the local government’s resources are insufficient to adequately address the situation and provide necessary assistance to affected farmers.

With the declaration in place, the local government can now utilize its calamity fund to address the damages caused by El Niño.

Meanwhile, the Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office early this April said they are also monitoring for the same declaration in the towns of Carles, Dumangas, Barotac Nuevo, and Anilao.

Data from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as of April 9 showed agricultural damage in Dumangas amounting to P121 million, Anilao with P52 million, Barotac Nuevo with P69 million, and Carles with P15 million.

A declaration of state of calamity was also placed in Sibalom on March 13 and Anini-y in Antique on March 26. San Enrique in Negros Occidental followed suit on April 8 due to damage to crops and fisheries reaching P9.9 million.