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Negros Oriental Conducts Validation of Crop Damage Due to El Niño for Aid Assessment

NEGROS ORIENTAL - In response to the debilitating drought effects of El Niño, Negros Oriental has commenced a joint validation operation to gauge the agricultural damage and determine the necessary government assistance. Officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA) at both the provincial and regional levels, alongside the Bayawan City government, initiated on-site evaluations of affected farmlands on Tuesday.

According to Philippines News Agency, rice program manager at the DA's Provincial Agriculture Technology Coordinating Office in Negros Oriental, the assessment team is focused on examining the conditions of rice, corn, and high-value crops reported to have suffered under the ongoing drought. The validation aims to quantify both partial and total damages to tailor the DA's relief measures accurately, including financial aid from its Quick Response Fund and the provision of seeds for drought-tolerant crops.

Sampilo further noted that the outcomes of this validation would be crucial for coordinating additional support with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, ensuring a multifaceted response to the crisis. Following the evaluation in Bayawan City, the team plans to extend its efforts to Mabinay town, prioritizing areas where local government units have already submitted detailed impact data.

As of late March, the reported agricultural losses in Negros Oriental exceeded PHP80 million, impacting over 3,000 farmers and fisherfolk across 11 local government units. These figures are anticipated to increase as more reports of El Niño-induced damage come in from other regions. This validation process represents a critical step in deploying effective and timely aid to the agricultural communities hardest hit by the current drought conditions.