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El Niño prompts state of calamity in Negros Occidental’s 2 LGUs

By Nanette Guadalquiver

BACOLOD CITY – Following substantial crop damage caused by the El Niño-induced drought, two local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental have declared a state of calamity, amounting to millions of pesos in losses.

Kabankalan City became the most recent to make the declaration, following San Enrique town’s announcement last week.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson stated on Friday that with these declarations, the two LGUs are empowered to utilize designated funds to address the pressing needs within their respective communities.

I suppose the two LGUs have the intention of helping their affected constituents,” he said.

Kabankalan City Vice Mayor Miguel Zayco said the City Council unanimously approved the declaration of state of calamity due to El Niño on Thursday afternoon.

In a radio interview, Zayco said Mayor Benjie Miranda will determine what kind or how much assistance will be provided to the affected farmers.

Based on the report of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) dated April 17, Kabankalan City has incurred damage to rice crops amounting to PHP41.91 million.

Affected are 1,214 farmers tilling almost 979 hectares of rice land.

San Enrique reported PHP3.581 million in crop damage, affecting 96 farmers planting 117 hectares of rice crops in six barangays.

For his part, Lacson said there is still no need for the provincial government to declare a state of calamity, pointing out that the province has funds to extend assistance to affected farmers.

On Friday afternoon, Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED), the country’s largest independent sugar planters’ group, appealed to Lacson, Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and the members of the Provincial Board to declare a state of calamity in Negros Occidental.

“This will enable them to buy planes for cloudseeding. Our sugar industry needs rain now,” he added.

Based on the OPA damage report, some 25 of the 31 LGUs in Negros Occidental have recorded damage to rice and corn crops amounting to PHP184.764 million. (PNA)

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