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Cebu City declares state of calamity in 28 mountain barangays due to el Niño

By: Kim Ablaña - CTU Intern - CDN Digital | March 28,2024 - 11:45 AM

State of calamity declared in Cebu City's mountain barangays amid El Niño crisis  

Cebu City.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – In response to the escalating effects of the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, Cebu City has declared a “state of calamity” in 28 mountain barangays. 

This decision comes after a resolution was passed with reports of dwindling water sources and agricultural distress, prompting urgent measures to assist affected communities in the city. 

The resolution was approved during a special session on March 27.

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

City Councilor Joel Garganera, who penned the said resolution, emphasized that the declaration of a state of calamity in Cebu’s mountain barangays aims to facilitate the mobilization of resources and the implementation of critical measures to mitigate the impacts of the crisis.

These include the barangays of Budlaan, Binaliw, Paril, Taptap, Pulangbato, Guba, Cambinocot, Pamutan, Sirao, Sapangdaku, Sudlon 1, Sudlon 2, Bonbon, Buot, and Tagbao.

The councilor highlighted that all the “necessary expenditures” intended to address the immediate needs of affected communities in undertaking critical, urgent, and appropriate measures to mitigate the ill impacts shall be accumulated from Quick Response Fund (QRF) from the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) 2024. 

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

A total of “96 million” pesos for the needed El Niño expenditures and other Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) activities was proposed by Garganera. 

Moreover, he said that the severity of the situation in accordance with Cebu City Agriculture Department’s report in which significant reductions in stream flows, dam water levels, and groundwater were observed in the Butuanon River upstream and Cotcot-Lusuran areas due to “decreased rainfall.”

The resolution also reflected that agricultural areas in the affected barangays have exhibited distress signals such as soil cracking, affecting at least 50% of production areas due to “lack of water.” 

READ: DOST: El Niño to affect more provinces as extended dry season likely

Further, the recommendation put forth by the Cebu City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) which was stipulated within the resolution also noted the urgency of the situation, urging swift action to address the challenges posed by El Niño.

Though the idea of the request was approved, the approval of the budget allocated for the necessary expenditures for the said intervention  are still yet to be discussed by the council for the next session. 

Meanwhile, Harold Alcontin, head of City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) said in earlier reports that they have already documented the plight of 506 farmers and 155 hectares of agricultural land, highlighting the urgent need for intervention.

“We have to act now. We will not wait for the worse to come,” he remarked. 

Alcontin added that an amount of P600 million is currently stored in the city’s calamity and quick response fund and P100 million in its LDRRMF.

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