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Direct aid needed as 273 areas now under a state of calamity

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Photo from: PNA
MANILA – The Task Force El Niño on Thursday underscored the need for direct aid and continuous on-the-ground monitoring for affected farmers and fishers amid the increasing number of areas placed under a state of calamity due to excessive heat.
At the PTV's Rise and Shine program, Task Force El Niño spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama, said about 273 cities and municipalities nationwide have declared a state of calamity, including areas in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
"Ang focus ng administrasyon is malaman po iyong pangangailangan ng ating mga magsasaka, mangingisda, at ang kanilang pamilya. Hindi sila figures (lang), mayroon talagang nangangailangan ng tulong (The focus of the administration is to assess the needs of farmers, fishers, and their families. They are not just figures. There are those who need help)," Villarama said.
"Patuloy ang pakikipag-ugnayan ng Department of Agriculture sa mga local government unit (LGUs) para malaman talaga iyong effect ng damage at sino talaga iyong apektado (The DA has been coordinating with the LGUs to verify the effects of damage and to identify who are affected)."
He said interventions provided by the government to El Niño-affected areas include the provision of immediate cash aid under the Office of the President, alongside efforts of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to conduct rehabilitation in affected farmlands, as well as in the aquaculture sector.
As of the end of April, the DA has provided P2.18 billion worth of interventions to farmers and fishers, with the highest amount allocated for the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) worth P1.06 billion.
Other interventions are P294.46 million worth of irrigation projects; P77.50 million worth of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan; P67.93 million worth of indemnification or insurance benefits for farmers; P65.35 million worth of composting facilities; P8.99 million worth of marine machinery and equipment, P8 million for rice machinery and equipment; P5.19 million worth of coconut seedlings; 66,039 native animals; 616 water pumps; and 111 diversified alternative livelihoods and technologies, among others.
Continuous water conservation
Villarama, meanwhile, urged the public to continue conserving water.
As of May 9, the water level of Angat Dam dropped to 184.38 meters. Its minimum operating level is set at 180 meters.
"Critical nga po ang mga susunod na linggo itong buwan ng Mayo (The coming weeks of May are critical) in terms of water management and water conservation," he said in a separate interview in Radyo Pilipinas.
To date, both the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will still receive full allocation until May 15, with 50 cubic meters per second (CMS) and 24 CMS, respectively.
Villarama also reiterated the need to save energy and food as La Niña looms.
"In terms of food supply, bagamat tiniyak po na may sapat na pagkain sa mga susunod na buwan, kailangan din po tayong magtipid. Kasi ang papasok po natin na climate pattern ay La Niña po, kasama nga niyan iyong matinding pag-uulan at pagbabaha (although there is adequate food for the coming months, we still need to save. Because the upcoming climate pattern is La Niña, which includes stronger rains and flooding)," he said. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-May-10 13.29.20 UTC+0800