State of calamity PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 11:49

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) in an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon recommended to the City Council the declaration of a state of calamity in Zamboanga City in view of the escalating damage to agriculture and fishery products brought about by the continuing dry spell.

Mayor Beng Climaco, CDRRMC chairperson has requested the Sangguniang Panlungsod to meet in a special session to tackle the recommendation, which she declared urgent. The Council is set to convene Wednesday morning.

The declaration of a state of calamity will enable the City Government including other agencies such as the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) to utilize calamity funds for measures to mitigate the effects of the dry spell such as cloud seeding operations.

As attested by the officials from barangays affected by the drought, the damage to crops and fishery products continue to swell, as bush fires aggravate the situation.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat during the CDRRMC meeting said as of Monday (March 30) a total of 8,924 hectares  planted with rice, corn, assorted vegetables, banana, rubber, cassava and coconut have been affected with an estimated value of P132.54 million.

Of the total 25 irrigation dams in the city, Palacat said, 9 have dried up, 6 are in critical condition while 10 are below the normal water level.

Engr. Al Alfonso of the ZCWD meanwhile reported that the water level at the Pasonanca intake has reached the critical level of 73.9 as of yesterday.

Barangay officials from Cabaluay, Bolong, Mangusu, Manicahan, Patalon, Calabasa, Zambowood, Salaan, Mercedes,  Pasobolong, Bungiao, Talisayan, Arena Blanco and Lumbangan among others have confirmed that agricultural lands in their areas of responsibility are hard hit by the  dry spell or bush fires.

After the approval of the City Council, the resolution will be forwarded to the Department of Agriculture for the conduct of the cloud seeding operations, according to Assistant City Administrator Elmeir Apolinario, CDRRMO in charge.

Aside from the recommendation for the declaration of a state of calamity, the Sangguniang Panlungsod will also tackle several other resolutions approved by the CDRRMC yesterday to include the purchase of additional equipment for disaster preparedness, purchase of seeds to distribute to farmers, the conduct of Climate Change Adaptation training for barangay officials and other agencies and the request to name Apolinario as the CDRRMO head.

Present during the meeting yesterday were City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., different department heads, City Police Director Col. Angelito Casimiro and representatives from the different concerned agencies that are CDRRMC members. — Sheila Covarrubias