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Capitol pledges P3M subsidy to Cebu LGUs amid rising farm losses

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 25,2024 - 10:59 AM

Cebu City farmers

Farmers working on rice field. | file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu Provincial Government has pledged a P3 million in assistance to each of the local government units (LGUs) across the province amid the rising farm losses due to El Niño.

The number of farmers affected by the prolonged drought in Cebu has risen significantly to 13,589, which resulted in estimated damages of P194 million for high-value crops, corn, and rice across 6,831 hectares.

This marks a notable increase from the initial report on May 17, which recorded damages amounting to P176.87 million, affecting 12,312 farmers and fisherfolk over 3,179.32 hectares.

The increase in damage represents a 9.7 percent rise in affected individuals and a 10.6 percent increase in financial losses.

Cebu Province declares state of calamity due to El Niño

Gwen: No ‘ayuda’ despite state of calamity in entire province

DA: Agriculture damage due to El Niño hits P6.3 billion

In response to these escalating damages, the Capitol declared a state of calamity and assured of the financial assistance.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia announced this subsidy during a meeting with mayors at the Capitol on May 23.

The meeting addressed various issues concerning Capitol programs and initiatives aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of the drought.

In a report from Sugbo News, Angel Enriquez, the regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture Central Visayas (DA-7), said that the data gathered came from at least 40 LGUs in Cebu, indicating that the El Niño-induced drought has severely impacted the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.

Despite the potential end of the drought, Garcia noted that the damage has already been done and immediate support is important.

“Bisan pag mouwan, the damage has been done already,” Garcia stated.

The governor also urged mayors to distribute assistance in the form of food packs and other basic necessities rather than cash.

On May 17, Garcia explained that she does not intend to give ‘ayuda’ or dole outs to avoid fostering a “culture of mendicancy,” where people rely solely on financial assistance.

“You contributed to the decay of the society that is just dependent on ayuda. So I am now thinking of ways we can help, not just by handing out rice… ipasubo, ipakaon nimo… No, no, no… I am thinking of ways to help so that they may be given the opportunities to help themselves so we can maintain that sense of dignity,” she said.

The declaration of a state of calamity, in accordance with RA 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and RA 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991), facilitates the release of calamity funds and allows for budgetary realignments to address urgent needs.

The funds will be used for unforeseen expenditures due to the calamity, including the purchase of supplies and payment for essential services to prevent further loss of life and property.

In addition to the P3 million subsidy for drought relief, Garcia allocated another P3 million for infrastructure projects, rewarding the mayors who attended and stayed until the end of the three-hour meeting.

Board members present at the meeting were also allocated an additional P3 million for their legislative assistance fund. /clorenciana

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TAGS: agriculture, Calamity fund, cebu news, El Niño, state of calamity

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