Malacañang reactivates El Niño task force
MANILA, Philippines – At the tail-end of the El Niño, Malacañang has reactivated and reconstituted an El Niño task force to address the short-term and long-term impacts of the weather pattern.
Memorandum Order No. 38 was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by authority of President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, August 13. It was made public on Friday, August 16.
According to the document, there is a need to reactivate the El Niño task force due to projections by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that the El Niño will persist from June to August.
"The recurrence of the El Niño phenomenon calls for the implementation of both short- and long-term solutions to ensure food, water and energy security, safeguard livelihoods, and improve the country's disaster and climate resilience," read the memorandum order.
In April, the Department of Agriculture reported that El Niño caused some P8 billion in agricultural losses.
The task force's membership was reconstituted. It will be headed by the socioeconomic planning secretary. The agriculture secretary is head for food security, the environment secretary is head for water security, the energy secretary is head for energy security, the health secretary is head for health, and the interior secretary is head for safety.
The Palace ordered the task force to revise and update the Roadmap for Addressing the Impacts of El Niño (RAIN).
At the time the memorandum order was issued, the PAGASA had already reported that the El Niño was coming to an end.
In its "final" El Niño Advisory No. 7, the agency stated that the "El Niño which started since the last quarter of 2018 has ended."
It projected that, for the month of August, the country will be affected by the southwest monsoon, low pressure areas, localized thunderstorms, and "2 to 4" tropical cyclones.
"Rainfall for the month is predicted to be generally near normal with areas of above normal rainfall conditions in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Metro Manila, most parts of Eastern Visayas, over the provinces of Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, Bataan, Aurora, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao del Norte," the advisory said.
Most parts of the country are expected to experience "generally near average to slightly warmer than average" temperature.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon brought about by higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. In the Philippines, El Niño tends to bring drought or dry spell, according to PAGASA. – Rappler.com