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No 'basaan' in San Juan City’s 'Wattah Wattah' festival due to El Niño —Mayor Zamora

There will be no traditional “basaan” or water dousing activities in the celebration of “Wattah Wattah” festival in San Juan City on June 24 amid the possible water shortage due to the looming El Niño, Mayor Francis Zamora said Friday.

“Wala ho tayong magiging basaan na nakasanayan noong mga nakaraang taon,” Zamora told reporters.

(We will have no dousing of water which we traditionally did in previous years.)

As an alternative, Zamora said they will do a “Basbasan sa Makabagong San Juan” where an image of their patron saint, St. John the Baptist, will be paraded and priests will sprinkle holy water to residents.

Zamora said the city government did the “basbasan” during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 instead of the "basaan".

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.

Recently, state weather bureau PAGASA issued an El Niño alert after forecasts showed that the phenomenon may emerge in the next three months at 80% probability and may last until the first quarter of next year.

“Recent conditions and model forecasts indicate that El Niño may emerge in the coming season (June-July-August) at 80% probability and may persist until the first quarter of 2024. With this development, the PAGASA El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Alert and Warning System is now raised to EL NIÑO ALERT,” PAGASA said in a statement.

In light of the possible water shortage, Zamora said the Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of 17 mayors in the National Capital Region, is studying to regulate the water use of some establishments.

“Tayo po ay magbubuo ng mga task force kung saan sila po ay magbibigay ng rekomendasyon sa amin ano ba sa tingin nila ang mga establisyemento na dapat i-regulate,” he said.

(We will create a task force that will give us recommendations on what establishments should be regulated with their water use.)

Zamora, who is also the MMC president, said the LGUs will depend on the recommendations of these task forces in creating ordinances in connection with the water use regulation.

On Friday, the MMC held a meeting at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to discuss their preparation for the El Niño. —VAL, GMA Integrated News