Areas in Zamboanga Peninsula placed under state of calamity widen

Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay – The areas reeling from the effects of El Niño in the Zamboanga Peninsula have widened after the local governments of the province here and Pagadian City had declared a state of calamity Tuesday, March 12.

Gov. Wilter Palma said the severe damage on the rice fields in the province due to drought has reached more than P100 million. This estimate by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) does not include the damage on other crops.

The PDRRMO report had indicated that the amount is expected to increase as the evaluation is still going on in all 16 towns of the province. As of this posting, 13 of the 16 towns had been hardly hit by drought.

Kabasalan, one of the 16 towns of the province, had declared a state of calamity on March 1.

Palma said he had ordered the release of P20 million calamity fund, a portion of which will be utilized to procure seedlings to be distributed to the affected farmers.

He said a cloud-seeding operation might also be considered to mitigate the effects of El Niño, a weather pattern characterized by reduced rainfall.

The provincial government is also considering a food-for-work program for over 30,000 farmers.

Zamboanga Sibugay, one of the rice-producing provinces in the Zamboanga Peninsula, has over 25,000 hectares planted to rice.

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Pagadian City had declared a state of calamity.

Some 143 hectares of rice fields in Pagadian City had been damaged due to drought. The damage to crops had reached P102 million due to the drought affecting more than 1,000 families of the city’s 40 barangays.

Last week, the city government of Zamboanga had also placed the entire city under a state of calamity.

It is expected more local governments in the region would declare a state of calamity in the coming days. (Antonio Manaytay-Mindanao Sun)

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