Koronadal allots P16M for drought-stricken farmers

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/05 May) — The city government is working for the immediate release of around P16 million from its calamity or quick response funds to assist farmers and farm laborers who were affected by the impact of the long dry spell in the area.

Cyrus Urbano, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) head, said the city government is now allowed to utilize its calamity funds following the declaration of the entire city under a state of calamity on Monday due to the effects of the dry spell that was triggered by the mild El Nino phenomenon.

He said the calamity declaration was made through Resolution No. 115 that was unanimously passed by the city council.

A report released by the CDRRMO showed that the dry spell has already damaged around P44 million worth of agricultural crops, mostly palay and corn, in some 2,000 hectares of farmlands within the city.

Around 3,000 farmers and farm laborers were directly affected by the calamity that ravaged all 27 barangays.

Hardest hit were barangays of Assumption, Mambucal, Saravia, Carpenter Hill, San Roque, Topland and Magsaysay.

The CDRRM Council initially recommended last week the declaration of a state of calamity due to the impact of the drought as well as the grass fires and the dwindling water supplies in parts of the city.

It also considered the earlier calamity declarations by three palay and corn-producing barangays in the area.

Urbano said they are now preparing the required work and financial plan to facilitate the immediate release of the calamity funds.

“We will prioritize the release of some relief assistance for the affected farmers and farm laborers,” he said in a radio interview.

He said they have required officials of the affected barangays to immediately submit the names of the affected individuals to their office.

Aside from the relief assistance, the local government will also provide seeds and other inputs to local farmers to enable them to plant again once the area’s weather condition would improve, he said.

But Urbano clarified that they will not utilize the entire P16-million calamity fund for the assistance to the affected residents.

“We will use it for other needs like the infrastructure side as there are some water systems that need to be rehabilitated as well,” he said.

He said they will also allot portions of the calamity funds for other disaster mitigation, preparation and response initiatives. (MindaNews)