Group demands release of funds for drought


This year, 11 Mindanao provinces will experience drought (Zam­boa­nga del Nor­te, Zam­boa­nga del Sur, Zam­boa­nga Si­bu­gay, Mi­sa­mis Occi­den­tal, South Co­ta­ba­to, Sul­tan Ku­da­rat, Di­nagat Islands, Su­ri­gao del Nor­te, Ma­gu­in­da­nao, Su­lu at Ta­wi-Ta­wi), alongside 26 provinces in Luzon (Abra, Be­ngu­et, Ka­li­nga, Apa­yao, Moun­ta­in Province, Ilocos Nor­te, La Uni­on, Pa­nga­si­nan, Ba­ta­an, Nueva Ecija, Zam­ba­les, Met­ro Ma­ni­la, Cavi­te, La­gu­na, Quezon, Ma­rin­duque, Occi­den­tal Min­do­ro, Ori­en­tal Min­do­ro, Romblon, Pa­la­wan, Albay, Ca­ma­ri­nes Nor­te, Ca­ma­ri­nes Sur, Ca­tan­dua­nes, Mas­ba­te at Sor­so­gon). Thirteen Visayas provinces will also experience drought (Aklan, Antique, Ca­piz, Gui­ma­ras, Iloi­lo, Neg­ros Occi­den­tal, Neg­ros Ori­en­tal, Siquijor, Bi­li­ran, Eas­tern Sa­mar, Ley­te, Northern Sa­mar at Sa­mar).

The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported at the end of March that P4.35-billi­on worth of crops have already been damaged, with a P2.69-billion damage to palay (unhusked rice) and a P1.66-billion damage to corn crops.

Last March, Zam­boa­nga City, Zam­boa­nga Si­bu­gay, Pa­ga­di­an City, North Co­ta­ba­to, Ma­gu­in­da­nao, Rizal and Occi­den­tal Min­do­ro already declared a state of calamity. The worth of crop damages in Pa­ga­di­an, Ki­da­pa­wan City, North Co­ta­ba­to at Occi­den­tal Min­do­ro alone has reached P600 million. Ricefields are the most affected areas in these provinces. In Bicol, 79,000 hectares of rice and corn fields in six provinces are in danger of devastation. This will affect more than 45,000 and 29,000 rice and corn farmers, respectively.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas demanded that local calamity funds be immediately released to mitigate the worsening dry spell. According to the group, the DA’s cloud seeding program is insufficient. The group also condemned the National Irrigation Administration’s failure to take immediate steps to counter the drought despite being allocated huge funds for free irrigation. During the drought, the government has to support affected farmers through giving food aid and alternative sources of livelihood.

Group demands release of funds for drought