El Niño's coming

Let’s brace for severe drought caused by the weather phenomenon –– Tingog Partylist bet Romualdez.

WITH the oncoming El Niño presaging a hotter dry season, Tingog Sinirangan party-list first nominee Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez yesterday appealed to the agencies concerned to map out plans aimed at mitigating its impact and damage to agriculture and the power sectors.

Romualdez, congresswoman of the First District of Leyte, underscored the need to study the possibility of extending loans to the troubled farmers as immediate “malasakit” (compassion) to their plight.

Late last month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had warned residents of Luzon, including Metro Manila, about possible El Niño effects.

PAGASA said its alert system is now in the “El Niño Advisory” category, which is one step closer to declaring a full-blown El Niño phenomenon.

She also underscored the need to look into possible energy shortage, especially if there will be a significant drop in the water supply in major dams in Luzon, including Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

“The national government and LGUs (local government units) should assist farmers not only with food supplies but also with loans to tide them over while the drought has yet to abate, apart from possible cloud seeding operations in affected areas. We should also ensure enough power supply,” said Romualdez.

At the same time, Romualdez, chairperson of the House Committee on Accounts, urged the concerned officials to determine if there is a need for possible cloud seeding operations in places affected by the El Nino phenomenon.

The Leyte congresswoman said the national and local governments should work double time and unite to mitigate the impact of El Nino and damage to the agriculture sector.

Romualdez is the wife of former House Independent Bloc Leader and ex-Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, president of both the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), who is running for representative of Leyte congressional district.

Cloud seeding operations are being undertaken by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau on Soil and Water Management (BSWM).

Billions of pesos worth of crops were damaged by the prolonged dry spell in the previous years.