70 barangays to be placed under state of calamity: exec

THE CITY Agriculturist Office will still push for the declaration of about 70 barangays under a state of calamity despite the week-long rains that hit the city.

This, after the El Nino phenomenon dried up farm lands in the city’s agricultural areas and led to low to no yields for months starting late last year.

In a telephone interview, CAO chief Rocelio Tabay told the TIMES that there have been 40 barangays whose councils have placed them under a state of calamity.

Damage, he said, could reach up to P70 million, but these were rough estimates as of yesterday.

It is up to the city council to approve the request for a declaration of a state of calamity.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, in an earlier interview, said it was ready to submit its initial report after being required by the City Council to appear before the body.

However, in the regular session prior to the elections, the legislative body could not muster the needed quorum to start.

The departments such as the CAO, CDRRMO and the City Social Services and Development Office already have data to be presented today during the weekly department heads meeting.

Tabay said he might be pushing for the report today.

Government officials earlier said there were at least 120 barangays seeking for the declaration.

The CAO, meanwhile, lamented that not all of the barangays qualified to be placed under the status.

“Nonetheless, we will find alternative means to assist them,” he said.

The assistance covers the provision of seeds to replace the damaged crops, despite not being under a state of calamity.

Tabay said the department is aware that prices of products such as vegetables have been affected by the drought.

“But with the rains, it’s likely the farmers are starting to plant,” he said. “Maybe in one or two months, they could be able to recover.”

Other affected crops include high value ones such as rice, corn, and cacao.

Earlier, Pagasa meteorologist Gerry Pedrico said the city was already experiencing a drought that could only last until July. According to the latest advisory by the agency, the phenomenon is expected to gradually weaken by May to June.

Pagasa said that most of the 18 provinces affected by dry spells in the Philippines come from Mindanao, while five provinces experienced dry spells.

Posted in under_HEADLINES1