TUGUEGARAO CITY — The drought in Cagayan Valley region has resulted in damage to agriculture amounting to PHP2.1 billion for a month now, according to regional agriculture data released on Monday.
Damage to at least 48,394 hectares of palay farms reached PHP702 million, while to 66,963 hectares of corn farms at PHP1.4 billion.
Cagayan was hardest hit with damage on 35,054 hectares, Isabela -8,145 hectares, Nueva Vizcaya -2,551 hectares, and Quirino -1,743 hectares.
Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Narciso Edillo said they already sent the latest El Niño damage report to the central office to jumpstart the allocation of funds for seed subsidies and other assistance to affected farmers.
Edillo said they had planned cloud seeding operations, but could not find cloud formations.
A Nomad plane from the Philippine Air Force-Tactical Operations Group had been on standby to fly and do cloud seeding through the inducement of chemicals, such as silver iodide or dry ice.
“The cloud seeding team could not locate cloud formation due to the dry season. Let us hope that we can have successful cloud seeding soon,” Edillo said.
As this developed, Eulogio Agatep II, the Awake party-list’s second nominee and former mayor of Lasam town in Cagayan, exhorted private water concessionaires to speed up the “establishment of backup facilities or other sources” to augment water supply.
To ensure clean, safe and potable water for the public, the environment advocate said there must be proper disposal and treatment of sewage and wastewater and rehabilitation of contaminated waters.
“One important thing is to promote rainwater harvesting for household use and other purposes,” he added.
Aside from focusing on water-related issues, Agatep also cited the need to focus on climate change and environmental concerns, such as air and waste management.
“Climate change has adverse effects to our water sources due to the higher temperature which causes higher evaporation rate. It also affects our food security, health and the overall environment,” he said.
To mitigate climate change, Agatep said everyone must shift towards low-carbon emission from mobile and stationary sources by tapping renewable energy and other environmentally-sustainable resources.
He also pushed for responsible waste disposal through decreasing single-use plastics and strict implementation of the Solid Waste Management Act.
Agatep added massive and sustainable tree planting should be done, aside from promoting total or selective log ban and safe mining for better environment for the future generations. Villamor Visaya, Jr /PNA – northboundasia.com