Antique Province Declares State of Calamity Amidst El Niño Challenges

ANTIQUE – The Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) moved to declare a state of calamity throughout the province in response to severe El Niño impacts. This decision aims to facilitate urgent support for affected communities and follows calamity declarations in three local municipalities.

According to Philippines News Agency, the council's resolution came after individual declarations by the towns of Sibalom, Anini-y, and Laua-an. "Following the towns' leads, which declared states of calamity on different dates throughout March and April, we found it necessary to advocate for a provincial declaration," said Train. The PDRRMC plans to present this recommendation to the provincial board for further discussion in their upcoming session.

The council has allocated PHP10 million from a PHP30 million Quick Response Fund to initially aid those hit hardest by the drought. Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao, who chaired the meeting, detailed the use of these funds. "The priority is to distribute family food packs and manage immediate assistance for crisis situations," she stated. Additionally, investments will be made in portable water tanks and necessary accessories to address acute water shortages in several barangays.

Support mechanisms also include financial assistance for the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine National Police, each allocated PHP100,000 for fuel to manage increased fire risks and water transport needs during the drought.

The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office reports that over 12,000 families, or approximately 50,000 individuals, have suffered directly from this environmental event, facing crop failures and property damage. Financial aid will be provided for those whose homes were destroyed or partially damaged by fires linked to the dry conditions.

As of mid-April, losses to rice crops in Antique were estimated at PHP165.6 million, underscoring the severe economic impact of the El Niño on local agriculture.