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Rama wants state of calamity declared in Cebu City due to El Niño 

By: Josh Almonte - USPF Intern - CDN Digital | March 23,2024 - 06:46 PM

Cebu City El Niño

A farmer in Barangay Sudlon II in Cebu City fetches water for his plants in this April 2015 photo. | CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Mayor Michael Rama wants to place Cebu City under a state of calamity or a state of emergency due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

The declaration will allow City Hall to use government funds to assist those who are badly affected by the worsening El Niño, especially the farmers.

But members of the Cebu City Council wanted to first check the city’s plans on how to help the farmers survive the dry spell.

READ: El Niño to persist until May, Cebu must brace for dry spell

During his “Ingna’ng Mayor” program aired via the official Facebook page of the city’s Public Information Office on March 21, Rama said he has long prepared for the drought.

Food security

Rama, who is currently in Taiwan to attend the Smart City Summit and Expo, said preparations were already in place since last year.

He also gave instructions for the City Agriculture Department (CAD) to guarantee food security.

READ: Agriculture losses P1.75B due to El Niño

Moreover, Rama has sought private sector assistance in desilting the Buhisan Dam to increase its water storage capacity.

“Kung dili na i-desilt, dali ra mahubas ang dam,” Rama said.

State of calamity

Before he left for his foreign trip, Rama asked acting mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, the City Council, and concerned department heads, especially the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRMO), to check and validate the need to declare a state of calamity here.

READ: El Nino waning, La Nina to develop in second half of 2024

Legislators are set to convene for an executive session on March 27 to discuss the city’s El Niño preparations.

They invited CAD, City Administrator, CCDRRMO, the City Resource Management and Development Center, the City Environment and Natural Resource Office, and the Association of Barangay Councils to attend the executive session.

Councilors also asked for the presence of officials of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD),  Cebu City Farmers Association, Cebu City Farmers Federation, and the Cebu City Highland Irrigators Federation Inc. 

El Niño assistance

Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr., chairperson of the City Council’s agriculture committee, said several farmers went to see him to ask for assistance.

“Anam-anam na nga nangamatay ang ilang mga pananom ug nangauga na ang mga sapa ug mga atabay,” Alcover said.

Meanwhile, MCWD said that their production average dropped from 30 million liters to 20 million litters per day as a result of the El Niño, affecting water supply in Cebu City. 

They urge the Cebuanos to help conserve water to caution the effects of the dry spell. / with reports from Niña Mae Oliverio

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TAGS: Cebu City, El Niño, state of calamity

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