Pampanga guv readies P51M for El Niño response

FUND REALIGNMENT. Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), approves the realignment of a PHP20 million budget to respond to the impact of El Niño. This was made during the PDRRMC 1st quarter meeting on Tuesday (March 5, 2024). (Photo courtesy of Pampanga PIO)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Pampanga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on Tuesday approved the realignment of P20 million to respond to the impact of the El Niño, raising the budget to assist farmers, fishermen and livestock growers to P51 million.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Chief Angelina Blanco confirmed this in an interview, noting that the additional amount was meant to assist farmers whose crops were damaged by drought. Cooperatives, she added, can receive fuel and electric subsidies.

Blanco said the El Niño response fund consists of a total of P31 million from the PDRRMC and P20 million from the 20% Development Fund of the province.

In a report to Pampanga Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda, provincial agriculturist Jimmy Manliclic said the drought and its related effects have alreaedy affected 814 farmers tilling 1,230 hectares of land, with damaged crops amounting to P57.5 million.

The drought in particular affected 158 farmers cultivating 254.8 hectares, reporting the damages at P7.6 million in Mexico, Minalin, Apalit, Macabebe, and Sta. Rita towns.

Manliclic said, “drought stress also weakens crops, making them more susceptible to pest infestations.”

He said the brown plant hopper (BPH) wrought havoc in 33 barangays in San Luis, Mexico, Sta. Ana, Candaba, San Simon, Apalit, and Floridablanca towns, affecting 656 farmers growing crops in 975.2 hectares. The damages reached P49.9 million.

“Total damages due to El Niño-related problems in the province is currently estimated at around P57.45 million,” Manliclic added.

Pineda, in a statement, assured support to the local agricultural sector. “Your provincial government is ready to assist those who would be affected by drought. The initial fund is P51 million),” he said.

As explained by the National Geographic Society, El Niño refers to the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. (PNA)