The Iloilo Provincial Government is now ready with its P110.78 million El Niño mitigating, response, and recovery measures pending the declaration of a state of calamity by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

“The important thing about the declaration of a state of calamity is your access to quick response funds. When you submit it to the Sanggunian you must have a (expenditure) plan,” said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., in a press conference. 

Defensor signed the resolution on the state of calamity from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on Thursday, May 9, for transmitting to the Sanggunian for their approval.

Included in the expenditure plan is the P12.78 million budget for piglet dispersal benefiting 852 farmers from towns of Tigbauan, Leon, Tubungan, Igbaras, Cabatuan, and Miagao; P10 million crop insurance assistance to affected farmers and fisherfolk; and P40 million fund to construct small water impounding and irrigation projects with the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) as the implementing office.

“We will have dispersal of piglets so we can augment their livelihood without relying on too much water,” he said.

 The Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office allocated PHP35 million to construct 14 large-scale cisterns in 13 district hospitals and the capitol complex and two mini-hydro power plants in Maasin and Janiuay towns.

Some P3 million will go to the purchase of 500 bottles of antibiotics to vaccinate against communicable diseases; 2,000 boxes of multi-vitamins, amino acids, and electrolytes; and 100 bottles of injectable antibiotics proposed by the Provincial Veterinary Office.

The Provincial Health Office also needs P10 million to procure commodities for the minimum initial service package (MISP) during disasters and emergencies, commodities for nutrition in emergencies, supplies for water sanitation and hygiene, and essential drugs and medicines for prepositioning. 

The PDRRMC, in quoting the April 26 progress report of the PAO, said that the El Niño phenomenon “caused significant economic losses, jeopardizing the livelihood and food security of the residents of the province, particularly those dependent on agriculture and related sectors.”

The total value of the losses was at P1.025 million. 

 It added that 379 barangays with 147,420 population experience water scarcity, while water supply in 335 barangays was also affected.

 Also, four local government units, including the municipalities of Sara, Bingawan, and Estancia, and the component city of Passi, are already under a state of calamity.Perla Lena/PNA