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PIA Press Release

Negros task force on El Niņo convenes

Negros Occidental (5 March) -- The Provincial Task Force on El Niņo phenomenon convened recently to discuss action plan and updates to combat the adverse effect of the dry spell.

The Task Force is chaired by Negros Occidental Governor Isidro Zayco which was created through Executive Order 10-003 series of 2010.

Samson Garzon of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist presented the province's action plan on El Niņo which is aimed at helping farmers in areas where there is shortage of water and those who have crop growth in critical stages. It also aims to reduce the possible production and yield losses from moisture stress and pests infestations that may occur from this climatic aberration; assist farmers to engage in alternative livelihood; enable farmers to immediately be able to plant as the effects of the El Nino weakens and the on-set of the rainy season becomes definite; jump start the 2010 implementation of irrigation and farm-to-market roads projects to create job opportunities to farmers who were not able to plant; and provide direct food assistance in farming communities and households.

So far, the national government has given out P10.9-million worth of assistance and emergency employment to farmers in Northern Luzon which is badly hit by the phenomenon.

The P10.9 million-worth of aid, DA Acting Secretary Bernie Fondevilla said, were in the form of certificates of allocation for 426 irrigation pumps to be distributed to farmers in the El-Niņo hit province of Cagayan.

Fondevilla added that the 426 irrigation pumps are part of the 1,363 units worth P35.6 million being distributed by the DA as part of its El Niņo mitigation package for farmers.

In Negros Occidental, Provincial Agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan disclosed that there are 16 local government units affected by El Nino phenomenon, six of which are intending to declare a state of calamity due to the substantial damage in agriculture. These are the municipalities of Hinoba-an, Isabela, La Castellana, and Don Salvador Benedicto and the cities of Kabankalan and Himamaylan, meanwhile the Municipality of Murcia has already declared the state of calamity.

OPA is stepping up its efforts to help the farmers through cloud seeding operations and by providing them alternative livelihood program.

Tabianan added that there is a need to conduct massive and intensive information advocacy on measures to mitigate the harmful effects of El Nino phenomenon. (PIA/EAD) [top]

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