July 9, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 539 views

AN official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has assured the public that the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is already taking measures to cushion the possible negative effects of the El Nino phenomenon in the country.

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, however, said the effects of the long-dry spell this year, particularly on inflation, is not expected to be significant.

Nevertheless, the brunt of the phenomenon is expected to occur at the beginning of 2024, she said.

“Iyong brunt talaga ng El Niño we expect it to happen by the beginning of next year of 2024 kaya lang iyong preparasyon para doon kailangan ngayon nagsisimula na,” the NEDA official said.

Edillon cited the reduction of allocation for irrigation water in favor of residential use at Angat Dam will help ease effects of the phenomenon.

The planting season has already concluded, eliminating the need for irrigation water at this point, Edillon said.

She added that frequent rainfall is experienced nationwide and it should be taken advantage of, such as accelerating the completion of small impounding water projects.

“So, again ngayong taon na ito hindi namin nakikita iyon. Kung impact for next year that really depends on how we’re able to prepare this year,” she said.

Edillon said the government sees no significant impact of the El Nino to the economy and inflation of the country if the appropriate and timely preparations and contingency measures are in place.

Meanwhile, farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) asked the government, particularly the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to provide them with complete details and information on how to address the ongoing irrigation water shortage due to El Nino.

“We have been warned. El Niño is here and we must prepare for more extreme heat in the coming months. An El Nino episode typically lasts for 9 to 12 months. We want to know NIA’s concrete plans on how to help farmers cope with El Nino and how to ensure the availability of rice and food crops despite extreme weather events,” the KMP said in a statement, adding the group will seek an urgent dialogue with DA and NIA officials to discuss El Nino mitigation efforts.

El Nino and dry spells will likely affect the country’s rice production since many farmers rely on rainwater for irrigation. The wet season for rice cropping usually peaks during the months of June to July but dams are nearing their below-normal levels due to lack of rain.

During the wet season, rice may be grown under rain-fed or irrigated conditions. Continuous periods of no rain directly affect rice crops by impacting water availability.

The onset of El Nino shattered temperature records and would likely cause more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean according to experts.

The planet’s daily average temperature rose to 17.23 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday. For three consecutive days from July 3 to July 6, the world recorded its hottest day, causing deep concern from climate scientists. Last month was regarded as the hottest June on record.

NIA earlier said that the entire country will be affected by El Nino. Luzon provinces will experience potential dry spells while Mindanao will experience dry conditions while Camarines Norte and Southern Leyte will experience drought.

The National Water Resources Board has implemented a reduction of water supply from the Angat Dam for residential and irrigation users. Magat Dam which irrigates 85,000 hectares of farmlands experienced a plunge in water level from 172.84 meters on June 1, to 165.34 meters on July 7. Philippine News Agency, Jester Manalastas