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Pampanga guv readies P51M for El Niño response

FERNANDO: The Pampanga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on Tuesday approved the realignment of PHP20 million to respond to the impact of El Niño, raising the budget to assist farmers, fishermen and livestock growers to PHP51 million.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Chief Angelina Blanco confirmed this in an interview, noting that the additional amount was meant to assist farmers whose crops were damaged by drought. Cooperatives, she added, can receive fuel and electric subsidies.

Blanco said the El Niño response fund consists of a total of PHP31 million from the PDRRMC and PHP20 million from the 20-percent Development Fund.

In a report to Pampanga Governor Dennis ‘Delta’ Pineda, provincial agriculturist Jimmy Manliclic said the drought and its related effects have affected 814 farmers tilling 1,230 hectares of land, with damaged crops amounting to PHP57.5 million.

The drought in particular affected 158 farmers cultivating 254.8 hectares, reporting
the damages at PHP7.6 million in Mexico, Minalin, Apalit, Macabebe, and Sta. Rita towns.

Manliclic said, ‘drought stress also weakens crops, making them more susceptible to pest infestations.’

He said the brown plant hopper (BPH) wrought havoc in 33 barangays in San Luis, Mexico, Sta. Ana, Candaba, San Simon, Apalit, and Floridablanca, affecting 656 farmers growing crops in 975.2 hectares. The damages reached PHP49.9 million.

‘Total damages due to El Niño-related problems in the province is currently estimated at around PHP57.45 million,’ Manliclic said.

Pineda, in a statement, assured support to the local agricultural sector. ‘Nakahanda po ang inyong provincial government sa pagtulong sa mga maaapektuhan ng tagtuyot. P51 milyon po ang inisyal na pondo. I’m sure po susuportahan po ako ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan sakaling mangailangan pa ng dagdag na pondo (Your provincial government is ready to assist those who would be affected by drought. The initial fund is PHP51 million),’ he said.

According to the N
ational Geographic Society, El Niño refers to the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Source: Philippines News Agency