Cebu LGUs urged to declare state of calamity in their levels if ‘necessary’

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo April 04,2019 - 10:16 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — With “worsened” effect of the weak El Niño in Cebu province, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Head Baltazar Tribunalo is encouraging local government units (LGUs) to declare a state of calamity in their level, if necessary.

Tribunalo, in an interview on Thursday, April 4, said it would expedite the response to El Niño-hit communities if the LGUs would declare the state of calamity at their level.

Read more: El Niño Phenomenon: Cebu province under state of calamity

“Ang mahitabo sa ubos, dapat makarespond dayon ang mga local government units thats why they have to maximize their disaster funds. Naa may quick response fund (QRF) ang barangay ug ang LGU. Kung mo-adopt sila og state of calamity, ang ilang panginahanglan dali kaayo nga ma-actionan sa LGU,” said Tribunalo.

(Whatever is the situation on the ground, the LGUs should immediately respond; hence, the need to maximize their funds. If they are able to declare a state of calamity, the LGU can immediately act on the needs of the community.)

Tribunalo also said that based on their continuous monitoring, the effect of El Niño had worsened in the different parts of the province.

Read more: El Niño has affected crops in 7 towns, 2 cities of Cebu; fish kill cases on the rise

“Ang akong na-obserbahan gahapon sa Camotes pananglitan, daghan na ang nangalawos nga tanom, like mga kahumayan sa Tudela nahubsan na og tubig, kasagingan nag-yellow na gyud ang dahon, wilting na gyud ang mga tanom,” said Tribunalo.

(Like what we have observed yesterday in Camotes for instance, the plants are already wilting, the rice fields have dried up and the banana leaves have turned yellow already.)

A diver shows, in this May 2013 photo, a crown of thorns (COT) starfish removed from the coral reef in Batangas City.  On April 4, 2019, the an environment body has recommended to declare  a crown of thorns outbreak in Cebu province. |Inquirer file photo

Tribunalo added that the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) had already recommended for the declaration of crown of thorns outbreak in the whole province after assessing that the population of the dangerous crown of thorns starfish had significantly increase in at least 50 marine protected areas (MPAs) .

Read more: Penro recommends declaration of crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak in Cebu

The recommendation also comes with a budget proposal of P1.3 million for the removal of the crown of thorns, which threatens to destroy the coral reefs in the MPAs.

Tribunalo said the budget would be used for the equipment for the hauling of the crown of thorns and the honorarium of the divers that would do the hauling.

He added that the activities to remove the crown of thorns would be part of their cash-for-work and food-for-work programs for the fisherfolks and farmers who lost their source of income due to the effect of the dry spell./dbs

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TAGS: calamity, Crown of Thorns, El Niño, LGUs, PDRRMO, state, tribunalo

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