Capitol readies La Niña mitigation efforts

DG file

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

While closely monitoring the impact of El Niño and the dry season, the provincial government of Iloilo is already making headway in its preparations for La Niña, which has an “increasing probability” of developing around June to August.

“We are preparing for the rainy season. We want to prepare for La Niña ahead of time. This time it is too much water and a lack of heat,” said Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. in a Wednesday press conference.

The preparations for La Niña were discussed during the two-day Provincial Civil Defense Cluster Meeting on April 15 and 16.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has declared a 55 percent chance of La Niña developing in the next six months.

The state weather bureau said Iloilo will likely experience near-normal rainfall in May and June.

With La Niña increasing the likelihood of above-normal rainfall conditions, Defensor said they will review the province’s preparations and adjust what needs improvement.

“We will go through the process of capacities and inventory in the province[…] In more practical terms, we will review our alert system, readiness, disaster map, and preparedness in areas susceptible to flooding or landslides, relief operations, and equipment capacity,” he said.

Defensor said he will call for a meeting with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council next week to discuss measures to cushion the effects of La Niña.

The provincial government is also on the works with the Department of Agriculture for the hybrid rice program in the cropping season.

Though the initiative is still “premature,” Defensor said under the hybridization program is the operation of a rice processing facility, financial assistance, and clustering of rainfed or irrigated farms.

“Our target is to help our farmers but apart from this, we also want to increase our production to six tons of rice through this program,” he added.