President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s order to form a team that would address and mitigate the effects of El Niño will materialize in the next 10 days, according to an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
During the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, DILG Disaster Information Coordination Center Director Allan Tabel said that with the creation of Team El Niño, the previous inter-agency El Niño Task Force, led by the National Economic and Development Authority, will then be abolished.
“Probably, and honestly, we expect within the next 10 days from today, maaprubahan ang abolition ng El Niño Task Force and creation of Team El Niño,” Tabel said.
(Probably and honestly, we expect that within the next 10 days from today, the abolition of the El Niño Task Force and the creation of Team El Niño will be approved.)
Last week, Marcos called for the creation of a team that would focus on mitigating the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below-normal rainfall.
Team El Niño will be led by the DILG, with the Office of the Civil Defense as its co-head, Tabel said.
He added that the team will also include sectoral agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the state weather bureau, PAGASA.
He said the team will also have a “support group” composed of various experts from different agencies, such as NEDA.
Tabel said the new team for El Niño will be reviewing “what went well and what went wrong” in measures undertaken by the previous El Niño Task Force.
Team El Niño will focus more on disaster preparedness compared to the post-recovery strategy of the previous task force, he added.
In the meantime, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular 2023-065, or the Mitigation and Preparedness Measures for the El Niño Phenomenon 2023.
The circular tasks local government units to prepare for the potential adverse effects of El Niño in the country.
Tabel said the DILG ordered the LGUs to implement water conservation measures, such as ensuring there will be no wastage in “water-intensive” business establishments.
Last month, PAGASA said El Niño was expected to start in June.
The weather bureau said the climate pattern in the country would remain neutral from March to June but expects El Niño to begin thereafter.
Last week, PAGASA said it would likely issue an El Niño Alert in May as the chances of the weather phenomenon taking place had increased.
An El Niño Alert status meant there was a 70% chance that the weather phenomenon would occur within the next two months. —VBL, GMA Integrated News