DEPUTY Speaker and Las Pinas Representative Camille Villar has urged the government to set up a fund for the farmers affected by El Nino.
According to Villar, the fund could be used as a form of assistance in a bid to cushion the possible impacts of intense weather conditions associated with it.
“It is important to discuss this now and prepare for contingency measures especially for our small-scale farmers,” Villar said.
A previous El Nino episode in the country in 2019 cost the agriculture sector an estimated P8 billion in damages.
The Philippines has officially entered an El Nino phase, the state weather bureau has said earlier this week, as it showed signs of strengthening in the coming months.
Experts warned that El Niño would most likely lead to a new spike in temperatures and trigger more extreme weather and climate events, with crops feeling mostly the impact that could affect food security in the regions.
In previous El Nino episodes in the Philippines, there were severe dry conditions that affected the agricultural sector and wrought damage to other essential sectors in billions of pesos. It was also during El Nino that powerful typhoons struck the country.
This early, at least four provinces in Northern Luzon have already experienced dry spells or dry conditions, and could affect more than 30 provinces in the coming months up to next year. State weather forecasters indicated there is a huge chance that it will develop into a “strong” El Nino by year end.
“We need to be better prepared and ready to extend assistance to farmers whose livelihoods are at risk so that they can have some sort of safety net or social protection either in the form of loans, direct cash assistance or cash-for-work,” the ranking House member pointed out.
Villar earlier filed House Resolution 1024 to look into possible government interventions in different sectors in the light of the return of El Nino.