Zamboanga Sibugay under state of calamity due to El Niño impact

RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2019 05:06 PM

The local government of Zamboanga Sibugay placed the entire province under a state of calamity on Tuesday, due to the impact of El Niño on agricultural crops.

Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Palma said 13 out of the 16 towns submitted damage reports, especially on rice, to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), and the value has reached over P100-million.

This does not include the damage on other high-value crops such as corn, cacao, among others.

Provincial officials expect the value to increase in the following days as damage evaluations are still on going in all 16 towns of the province.

Zamboanga Sibugay is considered a rice-producing province with more than 25,000 hectares of rice fields and paddies.

A P20-million calamity fund would be utilized following the declaration of state of calamity. 

Palma said a portion of the fund would be used to buy seedlings which will be distributed to affected farmers.

The local government is also planning to organize a food-for-work program for the more than 30,000 affected farmers starting this month.

Palma said he has ordered their PDRRMO to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture and other regional government agencies for possible intervention and assistance for their farmers.

He said he might also propose a cloud-seeding operation in Zamboanga Sibugay which could increase the dwindling water level in river banks and tributaries.