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PDRRMC in Albay gears up for El Niño

By Kyryl L. Montales

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC) presented their plans to its stakeholder to address the posible effect of El Niño on agriculture, economy, health, and livelihood of Albayanos.

During the PDRRMC meeting on May 5, Friday, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) Head Dr. Cedric Daep said that the major effects of El Niño in agriculture include lack of water, affected livestocks, deprivation, and desertification.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced that El Niño may emerge in June, July, and August with 80% probability and may persist until the first quarter of 2024.

‘’The lack of water will reduce crop-yield productivity, so while the weather is still good, we still have time to produce,’’ Daep said.

According to Daep, rain-fed areas and upland crops are the first one to be affected, while small streams, creeks, farms, ponds, small water irrigation schemes will be reduced or dry up.

‘’Because we are dependent on agriculture, the first victim [of El Niño] will be the agricultural and marginal farmers,’’ Daep said.

Daep admitted that if 30% of farmers will be affected by drought he said that the Provincial Government of Albay may face difficulties in providing relief goods due to lack of supply, and the province would definitely be struck by calamity.

Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Senior Weather Specialist Lilian Guillermo said during the PDRRMC Meeting that El Niño may emerge in June, July and August with 80% probability and may continue until the first quarter of 2023.

Mitigation Efforts

Albay Provincial Agricultural Office (APAO) Head Cheryl O. Rebeta said that they will adapt the 2023 El Niño Mitigation and Adaptation Plan of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

‘’It is to further strengthen ways that will address the effect of drought and lessen the impact of El Niño on agriculture and fishery industries and restore productivity in affected areas,’’ Rebeta said.

APAO aims to build water infrastructure such as hydroelectric power plants, flood control projects, irrigation systems, and establish more Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIP).

‘’Water systems including irrigation canals, diversion dams and small scale irrigation projects will be developed and/or rehabilitated even before the start of the El Niño which will be made available and accessible to farmers.’’ Rebeta said.

Rebeta added that they will also hold an information/education campaign through El Niño Caravan and present ways to lessen its impact on the agricultural sectors.

Daep stressed that the measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño were to limit the use of collected rainwater if any, surface reservoirs, cloud seeding, and food security.

Developmental Interventions

According to Daep, to avoid economic disaster, economic compensation will be one of the interventions in the worst case scenario caused by El Niño.

‘’The economic dislocation compensation will be either by way of livelihood opportunities or options other than farming,’’ Daep said.

‘’For fisheries we already have an allocation for livelihood options, especially to those in the island,’’ he added.

This year, the province has P141 Million annual appropriation calamity fund wherein 30% might be allotted for relief operations.

Daep encouraged each department and member agencies of PDRRMC as well as the 18 Local Government Units of Albay to submit El Niño mitigation plans until June.

Daep also advised the public to conserve water, utilize available water from underground for domestic use, and home gardening using pots, recycled containers, and plastics.

‘’In all of these preparations, we need your full cooperation, complete participation and support our preparations because we need to prevent the impact [of El Niño] especially to the marginal sectors of the society, such as the fishermen, farmers, and other sectors,’’ Daep said, addressing the public. (PIA5/Albay)


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