Maguindanao declares state of calamity

Published March 25, 2019, 3:18 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ali Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The provincial government of Maguindanao has declared a state of calamity after a four-office assessment report showed that some P130-million worth of crops and livestock have been damaged in the ongoing dry spell, officials announced Monday.

Engr. Abdulrahman Asim, provincial administrator, said the declaration came through a resolution passed on March 19 by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

“The resolution was unanimous after I presented to SP members and presiding Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat in their Tuesday session the consolidated findings of an assessment body on the extent of drought-related damages across Maguindanao,” Asim told The Manila Bulletin.

As of March 11, the consolidated reports of the offices of the provincial disaster risk reduction management, social welfare and development, agriculture, and veterinary showed at least P130-million worth of drought damages in 26 of 36 towns in Maguindanao, Asim said.

The damage included P50-million worth of rice farms, P70-million corn fields and the death of 324 livestock, mostly cows and goats, he said.

Asim said the brunt of dry spell was felt in the towns of Paglat and Datu Paglas, whose Sangguniang Bayans have earlier declared municipal-level states of calamity.

Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu ordered the conduct of the “synchronized” assessment by the four provincial offices a few days after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) announced on March 6 that the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao, and Sulu had started experiencing meteorological drought as early as last February.

Pagasa officials predicted that the dry spell would worsen in April and cover 22 other provinces in the country.

Mangudadatu emphasized to his constituents the need to develop and sustain backyard gardening for vegetables and other food crops to cushion the effect of dry spells on every household.

News about Mangudadatu’s backyard gardening advocacy sparked discussions in other component provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

A Maranao women’s group said in Facebook posts that dozens of households in Ditsaan-Ramain, the hometown of Lanao del Sur Gov. Soraya Alonto-Adiong had started opening backyard gardens because signs of drought began to be felt in their province.