Press Release
February 17, 2010


Senator Loren Legarda who campaigns this week in the Panay provinces expressed her deep concern that unless urgent adaptation strategies are taken, El Nino will devastate the region's agriculture, and food and water supply.

"Three provinces in the Visayan region have started to feel the effects of the El Nino phenomenon through below normal rainfall and drought since August 2009: Capiz, Aklan and Guimaras," she said.

The Department of Agriculture has already warned that the prolonged drought would drastically cut down the production of local crops, like rice, corn, sugar cane, vegetables and other agricultural products.

"Agriculture is the food provider of the country. Part of my advocacy is providing sufficient food for every family. It is unjust that at this day and age, there are still people who die of hunger," she said.

Loren called for an agricultural adaptation program that ensures more investments in agricultural research and infrastructure, improved water governance and land use policies, better forecasting tools and early warning systems and a strengthened extension system.

"We must also assist our farmers to achieve economic diversification and access to credit if we want to make progress in our food security goals. Hindi po maaari na ang mga magsasaka at mangingisda na nagpapakain sa bayan ang siya namang nagugutom. Dapat po natin silang bigyang ng kaukulang suporta," she said.

In the long term, Loren cited the need to draw up a national water resource management system to ensure sufficient supply of water for irrigation, power generation, as well as clean water for industrial and household utilization at all times.

"Water is not an infinite resource. If we do not protect our water resources, we are at risk of running out on this vital, life-giving resource," she said.

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