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NDRRMC forms team to mitigate El Niño effects

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday said it has created an inter-agency team to mitigate the possible impact of El Niño on the country.

“So itong team na ito ay titingnan or gagawa or aayusin yung ating mga plano para tugunan itong El Niño,” NDRRMC spokesperson Asec. Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said in a radio interview.

(So this team will look into or create or organize our plans to address the El Niño.)

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below normal rainfall.

According to Alejandro, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will lead the inter-agency team.

Other member agencies are the following:

  • Office of Civil Defense as co-chair, 
  • Department of Agriculture (DA),
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),
  • Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health (DOH),
  • Department of Science and Technology (DOST),
  • National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA),
  • National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and
  • Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) as members

A support team has also been formed with the Presidential Communications Office, Department of Trade and Industry, National Water Resources Board, and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The inter-agency team will focus on the possible impact of El Niño on food security, water supply, power supply, health, and public safety, Alejandro said.

He said the country may face food shortage, reduced supply of power and water, diseases, and increased incidents of fire due to El Niño.

Alejandro said state weather bureau PAGASA will issue a weekly update on El Niño.

On Monday, the NDRRMC held an interagency meeting to discuss interventions of concerned government agencies for the phenomenon.

During the meeting, PAGASA said the El Nino phenomenon can be felt as early as June to August 2023 with chances of increasing severity towards the first quarter of 2024.

“Below normal rainfall conditions” are expected in Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Metro Manila, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Spratly Islands, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, Spratly Islands, Albay, and Guimaras.

Meanwhile, “way below normal rainfall conditions” are expected in Ilocos Norte, Bataan and Cavite.

On April 18, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. called for the creation of a team that would focus on mitigating the effects of the El Niño phenomenon— RSJ, GMA Integrated News