Mountain barangays under a state of calamity - Cebu Circle | Cebu City, Philippines

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Mountain barangays under a state of calamity

3/26/10 - THE Cebu City government has placed all 31 mountain barangays in the city under a state of calamity due to the ill effects of the drought brought by the El Niño phenomenon.
Councilor Gerardo Carillo, action officer of the Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Council, said all mountain barangays were declared under a state of calamity on the recommendation of the Department of Public Services (DPS) and the City Agriculture Office because of the dry spell which hit the barangays.

Of the 31 barangays covered, 17 are located in the north and 14 from the south.

DPS head Engr. Dionisio Gualiza said he recommended the declaration of the state of calamity so they will be given funds to buy more barrels and water hoses to be used in rationing water to the mountain barangays.

The declaration of the state of calamity will allow the city to use its calamity funds to address the needs of these barangays.

Carillo said that with the declaration of a state of calamity, the city mayor could make emergency purchases to address problems caused by El Niño even without seeking the approval of the legislative.

“The different offices just need to account for their expenses,” he added.

Among the expenses to be prioritized are the construction of deep wells in areas with no water, the purchase of hoses and the delivery of water to the mountain barangays.

But Carillo said they still have to determine the amount of money to be allocated for these.

DPS delivers water supply to the mountain barangays with low and inconsistent water pressure twice a week. This condition of the underground water limits them from installing artesian wells which is the most common source of water in the city.

Gualiza said they have a pending request for more water drums to be distributed to families with no water containers in the mountain barangays.

He said that DPS also requested for additional hoses to reach houses located far from the highway and an additional truck if needed.

DPS currently has three water trucks, two of which can deliver about 14,000 liters of water while the other can deliver only 45 liters.

If the El Niño continues and more mountain barangays ask for water supply, there might be a need for additional trucks that will deliver the water, he said.

In the second week of March, the council approved during its weekly session the resolution declaring the city under a state of calamity preparedness due to the impact of El Niño which is slowly adversely affecting the city’s source of water as well as the agricultural resources in the mountain barangays.

Under a state of calamity preparedness, the DPS, City Agriculture Office and other offices that have requests for purchases still need to seek the approval of the disaster council and the City Council before any purchase is made.

The city is obliged to ensure the best protection of the residents against natural calamities and disasters as provided for in Presidential Decree 1566 calling for the self-reliance of local government units “to prepare for, respond to and recover from any disaster by taking necessary actions to ensure the public safety and well being of its residents, visitors, business community and property.” (Cebu Daily News)

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