By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY — A recent study has found that most Filipinos do not feel deeply concerned about drought, despite having experienced one.
Only 12 percent of Filipinos reported feeling extremely concerned, 24 percent were concerned, while 21 percent were somewhat concerned, 16 percent were a little concerned and 26 percent were not at all concerned of being affected by drought, according to the study of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) DisasterNet Philippines, a copy of which was provided to Manila Bulletin.
The study was conducted in 2017 with 4,368 adult respondents. It is the first nationwide household survey on disaster preparedness in the Philippines.
The report said that in regions and provinces which are already experiencing less rainfall in the last five months due to El Niño, less than half of each region’s population were worried about the drought’s effects.
In Zamboanga Peninsula, where Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay have been experiencing drought since February 2018, only 25 percent were concerned about drought, before the disaster.
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Pagadian City, which are experiencing a drought, have been placed under state of calamity.
In Northern Mindanao, where the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental have already lost at least P292 million in agriculture this year due to the effects of El Niño, 57 percent of the population were concerned about drought before the disaster hit, the report said.
In Ilocos Region, where drought has hit Ilocos Norte since February and a dry spell is likely in Ilocos Sur and La Union, 41 percent were concerned.
Parts of Sulu and Maguindanao are threatened by drought, but only 39 percent of the people there thought they will likely be affected.
In Mimaropa, where drought is also expected in Palawan, Occidental Mindoro, and Oriental Mindoro, 47 percent were concerned, the HHI report stated.
The National Capital Region (NCR) had the lowest level of concern, with 11 percent, while the highest level of concern was in Socksargen with 67 percent.