Preparing for El Niño

January 23, 2019

THE national government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA), has already created a task force (TF) mandated to address El Niño, which threatens the country’s food security.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, a former governor of North Cotabato, said the government started preparing for the erratic weather phenomenon as early as last year.

This was when the country’s Weather Bureau (PAG-ASA) reported a possible drought this year due to El Niño.

A former newspaperman, Piñol said interventions are being readied by his agency, including the delivery of seeds and water pumps to farmers in areas expected to be affected by drought.

Other interventions were emergency rice supply for those adversely affected by drought and grant of survival and recovery (SURE) non-collateral and no-interest loans payable in three years.

At the same time, Piñol assured the public that there will be no repeat of farmers staging rallies and demonstrations asking for food like what happened in Kidapawan City in April 2016.

Of course, the workaholic and dependable agriculture secretary was referring to the killing of two hungry farmers and the wounding of several others while they were demanding food.

On orders of local government officials, the policemen reportedly fired at the protesting farmers to disperse them.

We believe that Piñol and other concerned government officials have concrete plans of action on how to help the country’s farmers during extreme weather conditions.

By addressing El Niño, agriculture and other state authorities are on track responding to global events that threaten food security, a priority of the administration of President Duterte.