State of calamity declared in Butuan

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/15 January) – A state of calamity was declared by the city council Monday afternoon to speed up the release of additional funds for the estimated 4,500 families from 35 barangays affected by the flood late last week.

But City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. said the local government alone cannot handle the cost of damages and the lives affected by the flooding brought by tropical depression Bising.

“We had an assessment as to the need for the declaration. There were more than 4,500 families affected together with more than 2.6 million pesos worth of infrastructures and millions more on the agricultural lands all over the city,” said Amante.

Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun pointed out that the declaration was based on the data submitted to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) by the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC).

“The data indicated that based on their assessment there was indeed a need to declare a state of calamity. Based on their data, there were already about 9,000 individuals who were affected by the continuous flooding in the city,” said Fortun.

He added the agriculture sector suffered the most with around 1,200 hectares of farmlands sustaining an estimated damage of close to P20 million.

“A contingency plan will be implemented together with the release of a calamity fund for the rehabilitation of the affected sectors of the city. It will also pave the way for the city government of Butuan to implement programs that will help those affected rebuild their livelihood,” he said.

The SP unanimously approved Resolution 085-2013, declaring the city under a state of calamity during the session on Monday allowing the local government to use the annual calamity fund of P15 million.

Ricardo Agodong, a resident of Lower Barangay Lemon said the additional help from the government would be much welcomed by farmers like him.

“Thousands of pesos had been lost especially by those who had already planted their rice. I’m a bit fortunate that I wasn’t able to plant mine yet. But again I need to plow several hectares of land again because of the large deposit of mud in the rice field as well as fix the damaged canal dikes,” said Agodong. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)