June 21, 2024

The Office of Civil Defense reminded the public to heed authorities’ advisories on El Niño and implement necessary measures in preparation for the impacts of the phenomenon.

This came after the Pagasa raised its monitoring status from El Niño watch to El Niño alert on May 2.

In a memorandum dated May 3, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) directed regional DRRMCs and OCD regional offices to implement preparedness actions, which include close monitoring of warnings from Pagasa, issuance of reminders on water and energy conservation, and maintenance of water distribution systems to prevent wastage.

This also includes the strengthening of risk communication and localization of warnings and reminders to communities, adherence to the public health advisory for El Niño and minimum health standards for Covid-19 issued by the Department of Health, and the submission of regular reports to NDRRM Operations Center.

An interagency meeting was also held last April 24 presided by OCD Administrator Ariel Nepomuceno.

Nepomuceno emphasized the need to identify and harmonize short term solutions, medium and long-term solutions of concerned government agencies for the El Niño phenomenon.

The composition of the proposed El Niño team to be led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government was presented by OCD, which also serves as team co-chair, with the departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Energy, Health, Science and Technology; National Economic and Development Authority; National Irrigation Administration; and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System as members.

It has a support team composed of the Presidential Communications Office, Department of Trade and Industry, National Water Resources Board, and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

On May 3, various government agencies met to discuss updates and the ways forward in preparation for El Niño.

“Let’s work together to make sure that we will be able to comply with the President’s (Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.) guidance and do what is expected from us in the first place,” OCD Deputy Administrator Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said in a statement.

The El Niño watch was in effect from March 23 to May 1 before Pagasa raised the monitoring status to El Niño alert.

“Pagasa has been continuously monitoring the developing El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific. Recent conditions and model forecasts indicate that El Niño may emerge in the coming season (June-July-August) at 80 percent probability and may persist until the first quarter of 2024. With this development, the Pagasa El Niño Southern Oscillation Alert and Warning System is now raised to El Niño alert,” the state weather bureau said in its advisory.

El Niño increases the likelihood of below normal rainfall conditions which could bring negative impacts such as dry spells and droughts in some areas of the country, Pagasa added. – PNA