Iloilo gov Defensor eyes province-wide state of calamity declaration due to El Niño

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The Iloilo Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) approved a resolution recommending the declaration of Iloilo province under a state of calamity due to the effects of El Niño.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., as chairman of the PDRRMC, convened on Wednesday at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Board Room the members of the PDRRMC including the Departments of Agriculture (DA), of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), of Health (DOH), and of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Food Authority (NFA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), among others.

“The province can be declared under a state of calamity when two or more towns are affected and placed under a state of calamity,” Jerry Bionat, PDRRMO chief, said in a press conference.

Presently, the towns of Bingawan and Lambunao are under the state of calamity. The towns of Janiuay, San Dionisio, and Maasin are complying with the requirements to declare the same.

Ildefonso Toledo, Iloilo Provincial Agriculture Office chief, said 26, 000 out of the 117,000 rice farmers in the province are affected.

The extreme heat totally damaged 7,000 hectares of rice farms while 19,000 hectares are partially damaged, Toledo said.

“The affected farmers already reached 20 percent of the population of 117,000 total farmers in the province,” he noted.

Affected population in the province therefore reached 130, 000 as the number of affected farmers are multiplied by five as the average number of members in the family.

Aside from the effects in the agriculture and population, a number of villages in the province also lack source of potable water.

Lack of potable water is mainly felt in the towns of Leon with 66 affected out of 85 total villages; Zarraga with 11 villages out of 24; Calinog with 13 out of 59; and Lambunao with 23 out of 73.

Defensor requested PDRRMO to fast-track the resolution and “as much as possible submit to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan by Monday next week,” Bionat said.

The governor also asked for the resolution to be put on ‘urgent matter’ for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to tackle during its regular session next week. (PNA)