3 Mindanao towns under state of calamity due to El Niño

3 mindanao towns under state of calamity due to el niño

3 Mindanao towns under state of calamity due to El Niño

KORONADAL CITY, SOCCSKSARGEN, Philippines — Three towns in Mindanao have been placed under a state of calamity due to the impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon in farming-dependent local economies there.

The local governments of the towns of Paglat and Datu Piang in Maguindanao del Sur province, and Surallah town in South Cotabato province declared the state of calamity as the prolonged dry spell destroyed farms and disrupted irrigation supply.

On Monday, the municipal council of Surallah approved the declaration as recommended by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), after the town posted at least P71.8 million worth of losses to crops, fishery and livestock.

READ: Central Mindanao towns urged to declare state of calamity amid drought

As of March 31, the Surallah municipal agriculture office said 1,178 farmers, tending close to 1,000 hectares devoted to crops and fishery, were affected by the dry spell.

Surallah Mayor Pedro Matinong Jr. said that nine barangay local governments had declared a state of calamity earlier due to heavy losses in agriculture and livestock.

Matinong welcomed the town-wide calamity declaration as this would allow the local government to use its calamity fund to cushion the impact of the dry spell on the agriculture sector.

READ: El Niño as agitator of new conflicts in Mindanao

Assistance

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo has vowed to extend assistance to affected farmers, saying the provincial government was anticipating this situation to come due to the dry spell.

Irrigation dams in the province have been drying up due to the extreme heat and the absence of rainfall. This irrigation system is mostly served by the Allah River, traversing the adjoining towns of Lake Sebu, Surallah, Sto. Niño and Norala in South Cotabato, and Isulan and Esperanza in Sultan Kudarat, before its water drains into the Maguindanao marshland.

In Maguindanao del Sur, the municipal government of Datu Piang declared a state of calamity on April 5 due to El Niño.

“Water sources are drying up. We are even providing water supply to our constituents through the Bureau of Fire Protection,” Mayor Victor Samama said.

Emergency food relief

Samama had ordered the distribution of emergency food relief to residents of the villages of Reina Regente, Balong, Alonganan and Liong, which are heavily affected by the drought. So far, some 800 families received their relief packages.

The Datu Piang MDRRMC on Wednesday had yet to release its damage assessment report but many farmers said their harvest had dwindled to at least half what they used to get.

The town of Paglat in Maguindanao del Sur was also placed under a state of calamity on April 4 due to the dry spell. A 15-day price freeze had been in effect there until April 18.

The extreme heat brought about by El Niño had led to the suspension of all in-person classes in all levels in Maguindanao del Sur from April 8 to April 22.

In issuing the order, Acting Gov. Datu Nathaniel Midtimbang said classroom instruction should immediately shift to alternative modes as the provincial government could not risk the well-being of students, teachers and other school personnel.

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