Philippines: Sara first Iloilo town to declare El Niño calamity

The northern municipality of Sara has declared a state of calamity due to severe impacts from the El Niño phenomenon on its agriculture. Vice Mayor Ryan Zerrudo announced the decision on Friday morning, April 12, after a special session of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB).

The declaration followed a recommendation by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), which passed Resolution No. 06 on Thursday, authorizing emergency measures and access to calamity funds.

These funds are vital for mitigating the extensive damage to local agriculture caused by the drought, said Zerrudo.

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From the article:

The ongoing drought has led to a 35 percent reduction in rice production and 40 percent in corn, adversely affecting 2,251 local farmers.

The Office of the Municipal Agriculturist has recorded losses of approximately P34.1 million for rice (covering 1,024 hectares) and P54.6 million for corn (1,715 hectares).

Cornelio Salinas, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), reported that four other towns — Anilao, Carles, Dumangas, and Barotac Nuevo — are considering similar declarations due to El Niño’s broad impact.

Cumulative damages in these areas have reached nearly P473.4 million, impacting 9,850 farmers and damaging 9,198.53 hectares of agricultural land (792 hectares totally; 8,406.08 hectares partially).

Here’s the breakdown: Tigbauan (P17,591,834), Oton (P32,475,326), Tubungan (P22,122,120), Anilao (P52,223,800), San Enrique (P2,956,879), Cabatuan (P42,881,524), Barotac Nuevo (P67,919,610), Miag-ao (P2,872,117), Mina (P7,962,403), Dingle (P7,130,011), Dumangas (P120,836,330), Igbaras (P4,737,960), Banate (P39,188,402), Zarraga (P913,008), San Miguel (P5,839,222), Carles (P15,385,850), Leon (P9,668,457),Barotac Viejo (P3,869,505), and Sara (P16,830,550).

The calamity status allows for immediate access to the Quick Response Fund (QRF), providing essential support to the affected populations and helping restore vital services.

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