With damage to agriculture and livelihood breaching P1 billion, the entire province of Iloilo has been placed under a state of calamity due to El Niño.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved the state of calamity declaration during its regular session on Tuesday.

On April 29, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) approved a resolution endorsing the declaration of a state of calamity in the province.

With the calamity status, the provincial board approved the utilization of the P61-million quick response fund and the allocation of P15 million to assist affected farmers and residents.

PDRRMC head Cornelio Salinas said the funds would be used to provide assistance to affected residents such as the provision of family food packs and water rationing.

Salinas said the amount to be provided to concerned local government units would depend on their requests.

Iloilo is most affected by El Niño in Western Visayas, with damage reaching P1.025 billion as of April 26.

PDRRMC records show that 12,069.49 hectares of rice fields; 4,651.90 hectares of land planted with corn, and 2,007.81 hectares planted with high-value crops as well as 23,699 farmers were affected by drought.

Fifteen of the 42 towns and cities in Iloilo had earlier been placed under a state of calamity due to drought.

These are Sara, Estancia, Bingawan, Dingle, Balasan, San Dionisio, Lemery, Banate, Barotac Viejo, Ajuy, Mina, Janiuay, Calinog, Sta. Barbara and Passi City.

Badiangan, Barotac Nuevo, Balasan, Bingawan, Concepcion, Dingle, Dueñas, Leganes, Lemery, Leon, Maasin Miag-ao, New Lucena, Pototan, San Dionisio and San Rafael were affected by low or scarce water supply.

Occidental Mindoro, Antique, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, South Cotabato and Negros Oriental are the other provinces placed under a state of calamity amid losses in the agriculture sector due to extreme heat.

The entire Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has also been placed under a state of calamity due to El Niño.

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