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Bohol SP awaits PDRRMC resolution on state of calamity declaration

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, July 6 (PIA) -- The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) needs a resolution from the full council meeting of the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) recommending the declaration of a state of calamity before it could formally legislate such a declaration of calamity.

The recommendatory resolution of the PDRRMC is one of the prerequisites for the SP to legally legislate for the declaration of the state of calamity, which the PDRRMC has yet deferred while waiting for the final and consolidated damage reports in agriculture and crops from the town agriculture offices.

Recently, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) released an initial damage report showing an estimate of P4M in damage to crops and another P106M in lost opportunities of planting commodities because of insufficient rains.

This, according to the OPA, has already affected 2,055 farmers all over Bohol, leaving 1,351 hectares unproductive.

Moreover, the OPA added that as of June 2, 2023, only 41 Municipal Agriculture Offices have reported their damage to agriculture, specifically showing 71.5 hectares of crops affected by the limited rainfall.

These include 11.1 hectares of rice, 3 hectares of corn, and 57.3 hectares of High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) commodities.

Towns which still have to send in their damage reports include Alburquerque, Corella, Cortes, Inabanga, Loon, Pres. CPG, and Sagbayan.

It can be recalled that the PDRRMC, during its last quarter meeting on May 16, has passed Resolution No. 4 series of 2023 recommending the declaration of state of calamity in Bohol due to El Nino.

The same resolution should allow Bohol to immediately act and put up interventions to mitigate the effects of the long dry spell, which the state weather bureau forecasted to be felt in August and could last until the end of the first quarter next year.

But during the same meeting, the PDRRMC held the resolution in abeyance pending the full and final consolidated report of the OPA relative to the damage and lost opportunities in agriculture from the towns.

Without the full and final consolidated damage report, council members think it would be premature to declare the state of calamity.

The declaration of the state of calamity in Bohol allows the local government to utilize the calamity fund allocation, as 70% of it is allocated for disaster preparedness and mitigation and the remaining 30% for disaster response.

From the 70% disaster preparedness and mitigation allocation, Bohol can fund training, acquisition of equipment to support disaster response, as well as other preparedness and mitigation measures.

Meanwhile, from the remaining 30%, Bohol can allot for disaster response, which can only be used when a state of calamity is declared and can be used for livelihood projects, relief operations post-disaster, and other disaster response activities to a particular calamity.

The remaining balance of the 70% calamity fund, amounting to P59.1M as of June 27, 2023, has already been allocated for specific programs and projects based on the DRRM Plan.

The OPA has requested to utilize the remaining balance of the 70% Calamity Fund for preparatory activities to mitigate the effects of the incoming El Niño phenomenon, and has to be realigned for El Nino mitigation.

It may be recalled to that the PDRRMC has already approved the Work and Financial Plan of the Calamity Fund.

The SP, through the Annual Budget for 2023, said that realigning the remaining balance of the 70% Calamity fund would require PDRRM Council’s full recommendation and approval by the Chairperson.

Because of this, the PDRRMC has to convene, and if it does, it has to be earlier than its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting in September 2023 to deliberate on the proposed utilization of the remaining 70% calamity fund for El Niño preparatory activities other than what was already allocated in this year’s Annual Budget. (RAHC/PIA-7 Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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