Cebu under state of calamity due to El Niño

Cebu under state of calamity due to El Niño

CEBU CITY — The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has passed a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity, citing damages in the agricultural sector caused by the incessant spell of El Niño.

Cebu PB Member Grecilda Sanchez, who chairs the budget committee and author of the resolution, said the declaration of a state of calamity will hasten the release of aid from the provincial government’s PHP33 million calamity fund for this year which is still untouched.

The province, which had a PHP30 million calamity fund last year, also declared a state of calamity last March 27, 2015.

Earlier, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama declared the city under a state of emergency as hinterland barangays were reeling from shortage of water supply.

The Cebu PB also approved a resolution authored by PB Member Alex Binghay asking the province to help farmers, especially in the third district’s mountain barangays, cope with water supply problems.

Binghay cited the need to prevent an incident similar to what happened in Kidapawan City nearly two weeks ago, when three people were killed while police violently dispersed a farmers’ protest.

Binghay said the provincial government “must be cautious and vigilant enough in heeding the demand for relief for farmers from the severe drought that has been gripping Cebu Province since last year.”

The Cebu Provincial Rapid Assessment Team is set to consolidate reports from an El Niño assessment team as basis for Cebu Capitol officials to decide how much to give each affected community.

Cebu Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Sarajena said some 31,000 Cebu farmers are insured by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), with the province paying for their premiums, but no claim has been made so far this year. PNA/