Marcos wants local gov’t units on the frontline of easing El Niño impact

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has called for tweaks on the demand side as the country braces for El Niño, a dry spell that is expected to affect most areas starting next month.

The Department of Interior and Local Government has been tasked to bring local government units into the national campaign that seeks to “mitigate” El Niño’s impact by lessening households’ and businesses’ consumption of water, Mr. Marcos Jr. said in his latest video blog.

Filipinos may lessen water consumption in washing cars, irrigating golf courses, and refilling swimming pools, he said.

“All these are expected to conserve our supply,” he said. “All of us can help.”

Due to rising temperature in the country, the demand for electricity has far exceeded the supply, Mr. Marcos noted. Rainfall had fallen by 35%, affecting hydroelectric power plants, dams and irrigation, he added.

The occurence of El Niño has been more likely after the probability of its occurrence rose to 80% in June, August, and September from 50%. according to state weather bureau PAGASA.

The probability of its occurrence from November to January 2024, meanwhile, rose to 87%.

Economists earlier told BusinessWorld that El Niño may derail the growth of the Philippine agriculture sector which, in the first quarter, expanded by 2.1%, a turnaround from the 0.3% decline in the same quarter a year ago.

The agriculture sector was severely hit by the weather pattern in 2019, with the damage to the sector hitting as much as P8 billion.

Mr. Marcos said that aside from mitigating El Niño’s possible impacts on the various sectors including agriculture, health, education, the government has also been preparing for a possible La Niña phenomenon, the wet counterpart of El Niño.

“This needs the participation of every Filipino.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza