By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG, Correspondent .
THE capitol is moving to cushion of the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon on the province’s agriculture sector even as it started receiving reports about damages to farms.
So far, the town of Laguindingan topped the capitol’s list of affected areas with 149 hectares of cornfields affected by the dry season.
Alubijid town is next in the list with 109 hectares of cornfields and vegetable farms drying up because of the dry weather conditions aggravated by the El Niño since last month.
Capitol spokesman Florito “Carlo” Dugaduga said the El Niño has so far affected at least 349 farmers and their families throughout the province based on a March 6 official partial crop damage report submitted to Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano.
The partial list however lists only three farmers affected in the 1st District of the province. The rest or 346 are from the 2nd District.
Dugaduga said Emano has ordered the provincial agriculture office to coordinate with the various town governments and “confront the problem.”
He said Emano told provincial agriculturist Apollo Pacamalan to prepare for the worst at all times.
He said the matter has been reported to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp..
Dugaduga said the capitol is prepared to use five percent of its P2.9-billion budget for this year to aid the farmers. The five percent has been set aside as calamity fund that can be used in the event the situation worsens and warrants the official declaration of a state of calamity.
“Naa tay pondo intended for this in case naay declaration of state of calamity,” Dagaduga assured.