The Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) has approved a resolution recommending to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that the entire province of Iloilo be placed under a state of calamity due to the onslaught of El Niño phenomenon.
Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, upon the instruction of Gov. Arthur Defensor, Sr., convened the PDRRMC for an emergency meeting yesterday (April 14, 2016) to address the adverse effects of El Niño in the province.
Four towns, namely, Santa Barbara, Dueñas, Calinog and Estancia, have already declared a state of calamity due to the dry spell.
Banias said the provisions of Republic Act 8185 and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Memorandum Order No. 4, series of 1998 provide that whenever two or more municipalities are affected by a disaster, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan upon the recommendation of the Provincial Governor, may declare the entire province under a state of calamity. Banias said with the declaration of the state of calamity, the province could use its 20% calamity fund as well as its 30% quick response fund for programs and projects intended to mitigate the impact of El Niño particularly on farmers.
Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) chief Ildefonso Toledo confirmed that they have already received reports on damage to crops from the municipalities but they are still validating and consolidating the data. At present, he said, about 32,800 hectares of rice lands in the province have been damaged due to drought. He said many farmers reported that they have incurred losses due to the dry spell.
Earlier, Gov. Defensor created the Task Force El Niño composed of representatives from the different agencies to formulate programs and activities to address the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) reported that the country has been experiencing strong El Niño since July last year. It said the weather condition had its peak in February this year and would extend up the month of May. Pag-asa added that the current El Niño phenomenon may be compared to the drought from 1997 to 1998, where 70 percent of the country was affected.