Yesterday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned the public that more provinces are expected to experience drought in the next two months due to El Niño.
According to Ana Liza Solis, chief of the PAGASA climate monitoring and prediction section, the dry spell would affect Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Ilocos Sur as well as La Union this month. She stated that Ilocos Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao and Cebu have already been experiencing drought since February.
Zamboanga City was declared under a state of calamity due to El Niño. The city council has approved this recommendation of the local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO), after more than 55 hectares of land with an estimated value of P1.27 million (€21,000) were affected by the dry spell.
The city agriculture office earlier reported that around P7 million (€119,000) worth of rice, corn and vegetables were damaged. DRRMO chief Elmeir Apolinario said about P13 million (€220,000) was allocated to help cushion the impact of the dry spell.
A water summit to address drought in Ilocos is slated next week as governor Imee Marcos called for immediate actions to mitigate the impact of El Niño. Marcos said the summit aims to put in place measures and provide the necessary assistance to areas affected by the dry spell.
“The dry spell would trigger widespread drought. We must be proactive in helping our farmers who will bear the brunt of El Niño,” she said. Marcos also said the government should release emergency funds in times of natural calamities such as El Niño.