“Weak El Niño” hits province
Governor Carlos M. Padilla met with the heads and representatives of some local and national offices in the province on March 21 at the NV Pasalubong and Livelihood Center, Bayombong to assess and discuss how the El Niño phenomenon affected the province.
“The province have only wet and dry season. The dry spell we are experiencing now may just be normal but we will allow your explanation if we are already experiencing the El Niño,” Padilla said.
The DOST-PAGASA representative said that the province is experiencing a “Weak El Niño.” The dry spell started in the province in February and expected until April. Probability of rainfall was reduced from 20% – 50%. However, the province has good clouds accumulation compared to the Ilocos Region and Nueva Ecija.
Provincial Agriculturist Alexander Domingo reported that 1,691.26 hectares of land area and more than 800 farmers are affected with the El Niño in the province. Cereal production has total losses of P11.4 million based on farmgate price. Domingo suggested that farmers should adjust on their planting season. “Rain seeding is ready. In rain seeding, we are saving our rice and corn but we are sacrificing our mangoes which are in good bloom,” Domingo said.
According to Marina Acebedo, station manager of DA-NVES, the Department of Agriculture had already coordinated with the Philippine Air Force for the implementation of cloud seeding but it is not yet approved. There are still no cloud seeding conducted in Region I, CAR and Region II. The small rain experienced in the province recently is a natural rain. There is still no Cumulus cloud formation in the region. If there is no Cumulus cloud, there is also no cloud seeding to be applied.
Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Christopher Seraspi said that there are weight loss on cattle due to drought. In poultry, some animals suffered heatstroke.
The National Irrigation Agency (NIA) reported that water level in Magat River is critical in the months of March and April. NIA are implementing water rotation scheme to lessen drought affected areas.
Household water is also affected according to the report of the Provincial Water Works Services. The water source usually produces 10.3 million liters per day (MLD) during normal season. But this time, it only produces 3.7 MLD. The PDRRMO is preparing for the worst-case scenario.
The meeting was also attended by Vice Governor Lambert Galima and Board Members Nestor Sevillena and Johnny Liban. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is ready to declare the province under the State of Calamity as long as they get the correct and complete data from the different agencies concerned. #bg