(City Council file photo)

Puerto Princesa City has been placed under a state of calamity due to the drought that has affected 65,445 consumers.

The City Council approved the resolution for the declaration based on the recommendation of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) chaired by Mayor Lucilo Bayron after the Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) manifested that water supply in the Campo Uno dam in Barangay Irawan is already depleted.

Councilor Jimmy Carbonel, who chaired the session, said they saw the need for the declaration of the state of calamity after they saw the data presented by the PPCWD, City Agriculture Office (CAO), and the CDRRM Office.

“Merong concrete basis talaga ng declaration ng state of calamity ‘yong ating siyudad, dahil nga doon sa mga statement and supporting data galing sa ating CDRRMO, galing sa ating water district, galing sa ating CAO na talagang kinakailangan ng mag-deklara ng state of calamity dahil kung hindi pa ay baka lalong lumala at lalong magiging mahirap kung wala tayo nitong mga supporting actions ng pamahalaang panlungsod,” Carbonell said.

He said that while the calamity fund has not been fully determined yet upon, he assured the public that the city government has enough funds for it.

Jeovanne Sacedon, PPCWD acting division manager, said during the regular session that placing the city under a state of calamity will help them hasten their procurement process through emergency purchases.

Sacedon said that on top of their priority contingency measures is the cloud seeding operations this week that will cost P1.8 million.

The cloud seeding aims to increase the water supply in its main source in Campo Uno dam, he pointed out.

“[This is] due to the fact that we could no longer implement additional mitigating measures because of the absence of the declaration [of state of calamity]. On our planning stage with the cloud seeding operations, malungkot po sabihin na nasa least priority po kami last time na i-transport ‘yong mga asin na kakailanganin sa cloud seeding operations from Bohol and Zamboanga papunta po dito sa Puerto Princesa City dahil hindi po tayo, ang sabi ng Philippine Air Force (PAF) ay hindi tayo priority dahil hindi tayo under a state of calamity,” he said.

A total of 65,445 residents from 21 barangays have been severely affected by the water crisis from February to April this year.

Enera Tuibeo, the assistant city agriculturist, said Puerto Princesa’s agricultural production also suffered a total of P5,768,088 in losses from January to April because of the dry spell.

Earlier, the CDRRMC passed a resolution recommending the declaration.

Earl Timbancaya, CDRRMO chief, said three of the five conditions in the criteria for calamity declaration was met by the situation of Puerto Princesa City.

Timbancaya said a city can only declare a state of calamity once it finally met at least two of these five criteria.

“At least 20 percent of the population is affected and in need of emergency assistance or those dwelling units have been destroyed; a great number or at least 40 percent of the means of livelihood such as bancas, fishing boats, vehicles, and the likes are destroyed; major roads and bridges are destroyed and impassable for at least a week, thus disrupting the flow of transport and commerce; widespread destruction of fishponds, crops, poultry and livestock, and other agricultural products, and disruption of lifelines such as electricity, potable water system, transport system, communications system and other related systems which cannot be restored within one week, except for highly-urbanized areas where restoration of the above lifelines cannot be made within twenty-four hours,” he said.

“On the course of the meeting, napag-desisyunan ng council na three of the five conditions were met that is number one ‘yong at least 20 percent of the population is affected, the second is ‘yong widespread destruction of crops and other agricultural products, and lastly the disruption of lifelines such as potable water supply which the restoration cannot be made within 24 hours,” Timbancaya pointed out

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