Press Release
September 25, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged government to immediately adopt mitigating measures to cushion the ill effects of El Niño phenomenon, which is likely to develop around October to December this year.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), the last quarter of 2012 might be prone to the El Niño phenomenon. The agency further warned that if this phenomenon continues without any strong policies in place, Filipino rice farmers will likely suffer because of its possible adverse effects on the country's rice production.

"We should be more proactive in preparing against such natural occurrences, especially when they imperil the harvest of a crop as important to us as rice," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

The veteran lawmaker noted however that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has recently ordered for the formation of Regional El Nino Action Teams (RENACT) that will assess and implement measures to mitigate the ill-effects of the dry spell.

"It is good that our Agricultural Department is taking preemptive action. Such a program should be institutionalized and made to focus on the impact of our weather not just on rice but also on other important crops," said Angara.

The former Agriculture Secretary then stressed the need to prioritize investments in irrigation to include rehabilitation of irrigation facilities, construction of new irrigation systems and provision of small farm reservoirs to prevent and mitigate the suffering and losses of rice farmers.

The DA warned that the prolonged drought would drastically cut down the production of crops such as rice, corn, sugar cane, vegetables and other agricultural products.

Meanwhile, according to PAGASA, El Niño is expected to affect large portions of Luzon and other parts of the country with drought-like effects at a time when heavy rainfall is traditionally expected. It will likewise affect rice production in rainfed areas, while critically placing water supply in irrigation facilities at dangerous levels.

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