Troopers arrive, but army worms attack

BRP Tarlac (LD-601) is the lead ship of her class of Philippine Navy (PN) landing platform docks. She is the second ship to be named after the Philippine province of Tarlac, one of the provinces considered to have significant involvement in the Philipine Revolution of independence against Spain.

Despit the arrival of hundreds of augmentation warm bodied army troopers, on board BRP TARLAC, the Navy’s newest flagship (right), another kind of army is on the march in the municipality of Mabinay, invading almost all the barangays with those army worms, attacking several varieties of crops as well as grasses to the prejudice of farmers and the entire populace whose livelihood is mostly farming.

As a result, the entire municipality of Mabinay was declared under a state of calamity because damage has reached an alarming proportion.

This was confirmed by Mayor Ernesto Uy who was on his way to Mabinay Tuesday after attending the launching of Kapatid Mentor Me program of the Department of Trade and In dustry where Mabinay is a beneficiary.

The mayor said that extent of the damage brought about by the army worm infestation is so widespread, 28 of 32 barangays have been attacked, damaging crops to include corn and a small portion of sugarcane fields.

Of the 28 barangays affected, 18 have declared their respective barangays under a state of calamity to be able to use their calamity fund in terms of buying chemicals, sprayers, drums, seeds, among others.

Mayor Uy also said the municipality is also extending assistance to affected barangays with help from the Department of Agriculture and the provincial government.

At first, Mayor Uy thought they have contained the army worm infestation in five to six barangays but it became worse when two to three days of rain came in Mabinay inspite of the long drought a month ago.

In spring, the larvae stays close the ground, feeding on grasses and other low-growing plants. Later in the season, they move up to feed on plant leaves and fruit.