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Antique under state of calamity due to El Niño

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The province of Antique was placed under a state of calamity due to the ill effects of the El Niño phenomenon on Thursday.

The Antique Provincial Board approved the declaration during its regular session based on Resolution No. 4, which was passed by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on June 12.

“Whereas, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture as head of the El Niño Task Force, submitted a damaged report on affected rice fields, crops, as well as the number of farmers and fisherfolk in the entire province,” said Provincial Board Member Santiago Lotilla IV.

He said that aside from the adverse effects of the El Niño to the agriculture sector, there was also a widespread effect on communities due to the drying up of their water sources for drinking and household needs.

“Whereas four municipalities namely Sebaste, Barbaza, Sibalom, and Anini-y have already declared their respective areas under the state of calamity,” he said.

Provincial Agriculturist Nicolasito Calawag, who was present during the deliberation of the provincial board, said that the total losses in agriculture were estimated at PHP50 million. There are still municipalities that have not submitted their damage report, he added.

PDRRM Officer Broderick Train, who also attended the session, said that under the National Disaster Coordinating Council Memorandum Order No. 4, series of 1998, a state of calamity upon the recommendation of the governor can be declared when there are two or more municipalities or cities affected by a disaster.

“Upon the declaration of the state of calamity the PDRRM QuickResponse Fund
could be utilized for the relief, rehabilitation and other necessary assistance, works or services to the affected areas or population,” Train said.

He said that an amount not exceeding PHP10 million from Antique’s PDRRM Quick Response Fund could be used to assist the affected farmers and other people who need help from the provincial government.

Farmer Melvin Jamandron of Bongbongan II from Sibalom town and a member of the Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay and Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) said that they could receive assistance from the provincial government now that it is planting time. “We need palay seeds to be planted,” he said.

He said that there are already many farmers in the province who have done land preparation for the first cropping but because of the losses they incurred from the El Niño, they have less planting materials to be used.

“Before I could get 32 sacks of palay from my half hectare farm but during my harvest first week of June, I was only able to get 12 sacks of palay,” he said.

He said that this is also true for his half a hectare land planted with vegetables, where he got almost nothing because of lack of water. (PNA)