(File photo)

Eight towns and 1,200 farmers in Palawan are affected by the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, according to the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA).

Dr. Romeo Cabungcal, the assistant provincial agriculturist, said Tuesday these eight towns are Aborlan, Narra, Brooke’s Point, Sofronio Española, Quezon, San Vicente, Taytay, and Bataraza.

“Mayroon tayong standing crop na almost 3,000 hectares na ang nada-damage with regards to El Niño. ‘Yong talagang totally damaged ay nag-a-account na sa 410 hectares at ‘yong partially damaged ay nasa 1,917 hectares. Noong nakaraang linggo nga ako ay pumunta sa munisipyo ng Bataraza at Brooke’s Point at nakita ko ‘yong extent ng damage,” Cabungcal said.

None of the affected towns has declared a state of calamity.

“Nakita nga natin ang damaged pero sa kasalukuyan ay wala pa naman nagdedeklara [na sila ay under a] state of calamity. Sa onset of the first cropping season, uulan na rin ‘yan [sa mga buwan ng] Mayo at Hunyo,” he said.

Board Member Winston Arzaga, meanwhile, pushed for the declaration of a state of calamity in all affected areas.

He said that Roxas and Taytay towns in northern Palawan are also affected by the intense heat.

“Concerned agencies and offices should immediately assess the damages, there are many rice fields that have dried up. I think the proclamation for the state of calamity is necessary so that we can alleviate the impact, particularly in the income of farmers,” Arzaga said.

In February this year, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced that the country will be experiencing El Niño this year.

The MIMAROPA region has been cited by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as one of the regions affected by the dry spell.