Officials request cloudseeding amid dry spell

(Front row, L-R) Board Member Anton Occeño, 5th district Rep. Dino Yulo, La Castellana mayor Alme Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan, governor Eugenio Jose ‘Bong’ Lacson and Vice Mayor Alberto Nicor while at the background are other local officials at the opening of the Silver Banana festival Monday. (Dolly Yasa photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson of Negros Occidental and fifth district Rep. Dino Yulo are set to appeal to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) for cloudseeding operations to counteract the damage caused by the ongoing dry spell.

The appeal coincided with their presence at the 25th Banana Festival’s opening ceremony, which took place at the Panorama View Park in barangay Mansalanao, La Castellana town on Monday.

“Although the BSWM initially recommended against cloudseeding, I have discussed with Congressman Yulo, and we will petition for a reversal of this decision,” Lacson reported to the media.

He further stated that the appeal aims for the BSWM to initiate cloudseeding, particularly in the southern areas of the province.

Yulo announced his intention to visit the BSWM office in Manila personally, armed with photographs he has taken over the past two weeks which show clouds suitable for seeding.

“Occasionally, you do see seedable clouds, and by demonstrating this, we might be able to reduce crop loss even if we only manage to induce rain once or twice,” Yulo elaborated.

He acknowledged that lobbying the BSWM is a daunting task but insisted on the importance of perseverance.

The fifth district, represented by Yulo, is reportedly among those most severely affected by the El Niño-induced dry spell.

Yulo has previously been vocal in his criticism of the BSWM, labeling the agency as incompetent after it dismissed cloud seeding as a potential remedy for the drought currently ravaging crops and sugar plantations across the province.

While in Himamaylan City during a weekend visit with Senator Bong Go to review infrastructure projects, Yulo expressed his exasperation, particularly over the BSWM’s late response to the drought. “It’s absurd that they’re only now starting to prepare,” he said.

Yulo also voiced his frustration with the BSWM’s refusal to endorse cloud seeding, challenging their reasoning that the absence of seedable clouds and the potential impact on flowering mango trees in Guimaras were insufficient grounds for dismissal. He suggested that the risk-benefit analysis for southern Negros, distant from Guimaras, might favor cloudseeding.

Countering the BSWM’s position, Yulo claimed that rain clouds do occasionally form over southern Negros, implying that cloudseeding is a feasible alternative. “They should have observed this,” he asserted.

Yulo’s primary concern is the BSWM’s seemingly defeatist stance, which suggests that the drought is an unavoidable aspect of climate change. He stressed the importance of proactive government intervention, particularly in providing support to citizens during such critical times.

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