Isabela declares state of calamity due to dry spell

Harris Julio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2016 07:49 PM

A farmer walks past dry land after El Niño struck the Province of Isabela in 2010. (FILE) Gigie Cruz

ISABELA - The provincial government of Isabela declared a state of calamity in the province on Thursday after damage to agricultural crops due to the dry spell reached nearly P1 billion.

At least 54,615 hectares of corn amounting to P966.91 million have been damaged, based on the latest record from the provincial agricultural office.

The biggest damage to corn was recorded in Ilagan City which is considered as the "Corn Capital of the Philippines." 

The towns of Echague, Tumauini, Benito Soliven, and Cabagan also reported losses in their corn produce due to the dry spell.

Aside from corn, around 4,530 hectares of rice worth over P9.18 million, was also hit by the drought.

The provincial agricultural office is set to disburse at least P200 million to provide affected farmers with seedlings and fuel subsidies.

The provincial government has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to provide more irrigation projects in the province, as well as construct a dam in Ilagan City, Isabela Vice Governor Antonio Albano said.

Officials advised farmers to diversify their harvest by planting other agricultural crops such as cassava, while they wait for the government's promised irrigation projects.