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4 cities, 23 towns in Cebu report damage to crops, fisheries

Hotter days are here. State weather bureau PAGASA says weak El Niño conditions are present in the country. Photo taken on March 29, 2019 in Cebu. (Ventures Cebu)

Four cities and 23 towns in Cebu province have reported damage to their agri-fisheries sector due to the dry spell caused by a mild El Niño phenomenon, a climate pattern characterized by hotter days.

To counter the impact of El Niño, the Cebu provincial government announced in a statement Friday, March 29, that it will initially spend P20 million to P25 million for the rollout of interventions. The amount will come from the P59-million Quick Response Fund.

As of March 25, 2019, Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunalo, Jr. said cumulative losses in crops and fisheries in Cebu have reached about P100 million.

The Cebu Provincial Board declared a state of calamity in the entire province on the same day to gain access to the QRF.

Salvador D. Diputado, Department of Agriculture (DA) regional executive director for Central Visayas, said in a statement issued on March 26 that they were validating the data submitted by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Cebu.

Diputado said the DA regional field unit and the OPA Cebu will use a drone to validate the data.

Once validated, the data will form the “basis for our action and implementation of mitigating measures,” Diputado said.

A coordination meeting at the Cebu Provincial Capitol was held Thursday, March 28, to discuss how the funds would be disbursed “to ensure the protection of the livelihood and safety of drought-affected farmers and fisherfolk”.

Among the local government units (LGUs) that reported damage is Carcar City, where around 15,000 Tilapia fingerlings have died due to the hot weather, Tribunalo said.

Aside from Carcar, other cities that reported damage are Mandaue and Danao in the north and Toledo in the west.

The municipalities that reported damage are: Asturias, Alcantara, Aloguinsan, Alcoy, Argao, Balamban, Dumanjug, Sogod, Dalaguete, San Remegio, Sibonga, Tuburan, Tabuelan, Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bantayan, Carmen, Madridejos, Santa Fe, Consolacion, Compostela, Boljoon and Minglanilla.

The offices involved in the rollout of interventions are the PDRRMO, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, OPA, Provincial Veterinarian’s Office, Provincial General Services Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Information Office, Provincial Planning and Development Office, and the Provincial Budget Office.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported on February 14, 2019 the presence of weak El Niño conditions in the Pacific.

In a previous statement, Diputado said he had immediately reactivated the El Niño Quick Response Team, which is composed of the Agriculture Programs coordinating officers of Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor and Negros Oriental.

The team will monitor and submit a weekly situation on the planting, harvesting and standing crops as well as an inventory report on buffer stocks.

“Inventory of the drought-resistant vegetable seeds and the conduct of an El Niño information campaign are among the planned measures to be undertaken,” he said. (Ventures Cebu)

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