BAUTISTA, Pangasinan — The town of Bautista in Pangasinan was placed today (Thursday) under a state of calamity due to the massive infestation of onion plants by tiny army worms, locally called by farmers as “harabas”.
Rodrigo Tagulao, Municipal Agriculturist of Bautista, said of the total 300 hectares of land in the town planted to onion, 91 percent or 274 hectares are infested by the pest. Total damage to bulb plants has been placed at PHP75 million.
Tagulao said also affected by army worms infestation are the towns of Bayambang, with 100 hectares; Alcala, 90 hectares; and Malasiqui, 29 hectares. Bautista is considered as the most affected.
Tagulao said there are seven barangays of Bautista which planted onion this season – Pogo, Palisoc, Poponto, Baluyot, Ketegan, Cabuaan and Villanueva.
The declaration of state of calamity was contained in a resolution passed during a special session of the municipal council called for by Bautista Mayor Amadeo Espino.
Under the Local Government Code, once a state of calamity is declared, the calamity fund maybe used to help cushion the impact of the disaster among its people.
Tagulao said the calamity fund would be used to buy fertilizers and pesticides in order to contain the pest.
Meanwhile, the price of onion in the market remains at PHP32 per kilo which to farmers is reasonable. Ahicam Pasion/PNA-northboundasia.com