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Rat, black bug infestation destroys PHP11-M agri products in North Cotabato

COTABATO CITY, Dec 15 (PNA) -- Rat and black bug infestation in farming communities in Kabacan, North Cotabato have destroyed more than PHP11 million worth of agricultural crops from October to December this year, disaster officials today said.

David Don Saure, Kabacan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), said seven of 24 villages have been affected by rat attacks and black bug infestation.

Kabacan is North Cotabato's rice producing town that earned recognition not only in the province but region-wide. It is more known as North Cotabato's rice granary.

Saure said the municipal agriculture office, in its assessment report, reported that the infestation has affected more than 500 hectares.

It also affected 491 farm families in seven villages.

Saure said as of Dec. 13, the total cost of damages to crops was pegged at PHP11,420,942.

With the situation, Saure said the MDRRMC has recommended to the office of Mayor Herlo Guzman and the town's Sangguniang Bayan to place the entire town under state of calamity.

Guzman said he was considering the MDRRMC recommendation and sought the help of town council members. Today, the town council will discuss the proposed declaration, Guzman said.

Severely affected villages are Cuyapon, Dagupan, Katidtuan, Lower Paatan, Malamote, Kilagasan and Aringay. Saure said other communities were also affected, not only by bugs and rat attacks but also floods due to frequent light to moderate rains.

Last year, Kabacan had experience massive rat infestation that affected more than PHP24-M worth of crops. The local government also launched "rat tails for rice," where farmers collect rat tails in exchange for a kilo of rice. (PNA)

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