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El Nino weather phenomenon

Palace to public: Practice ‘bayanihan’ to counter adverse effects of El Niño

El Nino weather phenomenon
El Nino weather phenomenon

MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang has called on the people to practice “bayanihan” to counter the adverse effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon that is expected to hit the country in June.

“Pairalin natin iyong diwa ng bayanihan. Ang gagawin po natin sa ating kani-kaniyang sambahayan at komunidad ay malaki ang maiaambag sa pambansang pagkilos,” Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said, Monday, asking the public to heed government calls for power and water conservation.

The El Nino is an anomalous phenomenon caused by the warming of ocean water temperatures, affecting the countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean. It is said to bring droughts and trigger abnormal weather patterns.

Over the weekend, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned that the El Nino might affect the country starting next month and could last nine months.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo said the phenomenon could result in reduced rainfall.

The department also warned that water levels in Angat Dam, which supplies 90 percent of the water in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, are already at a critical level.

Coloma said an inter-government agency cooperation is being implemented to counter the effects of El Nino.

He said the government agencies involved include the Department of Agriculture (DA), PAGASA-DOST, Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Trade and Investment (DTI), Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Coloma said the DA is working closely with the PAGASA-DOST to intensify cloud-seeding operations to induce rain in major watersheds and drought-affected farming communities.

The DA will provide shallow tube wells and drought-tolerant crop varieties to farmers in areas that will be affected by the dry spell.

Coloma said the department has also increased its investments on the establishment of small water-impounding facilities, as well as the repair of existing irrigation systems and construction of new ones.

Meanwhile, the DTI will monitor the prices of basic commodities to prevent any unwarranted price hikes, while the ERB will watch for any power rate increase, he said, adding that the DOE will prevent power plants from going offline unexpectedly to avert power interruptions.

“Kasama na rin po ang mga kawani at opisyal ng pamahalaan na makikiisa sa wasto at matipid na paggamit ng tubig at ng kuryente, dahil ito ay maaaring maapektuhan ng inaasahang pagpasok ng El Niño phenomenon,” said Coloma.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.