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Legarda calls on communities to adopt measures to manage increasing heat index

May 18, 2021

MANILA, 18 May 2021 —House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda called on communities to adopt measures as the Philippines continues to suffer more extreme temperatures amid climate change.

“We’re all feeling the extreme heat since the past weeks. I’m especially worried para sa ating mga kababayan sa Dagupan City. They hit 53˚Celsius last week in the heat index. Many other provinces are also suffering from dangerous heat levels,” Legarda said Tuesday, May 18.

PAGASA reported that the maximum heat index—the “apparent” temperature, or what humans feel as the temperature affecting their body—reached “dangerous” levels in 20 provinces on Sunday, May 16. Two days earlier, the heat index in Dagupan City reached 53˚C, which is in the “extreme danger” level, and which marked the year’s record-high.

PAGASA warns that a heat index from 41 to 54˚C could cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke with continued activity. People are advised to reduce their direct exposure to the sun and stay hydrated.

“This endangers the health especially of the elderly, children, the poor, pregnant women, workers, and those living in cities. I farm too, so I know agriculture is also suffering from the heat, and that could mean less food on the table for Filipinos,” Legarda said.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted that changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since 1950, adding that it is very likely that the number of cold days and nights has decreased while that of warm days and nights has increased on the global scale. The IPCC has also reported that it is very likely that human-induced climate change has contributed to global-scale changes in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes since the mid-20th century.

With climate change projected to worsen the frequency, severity, and duration of heat events, Legarda called on Filipinos to start initiating local climate adaptation measures in their communities.

“We can beat the heat by planting more trees to provide green spaces, shade, and cooling. We should also promote the construction of green spaces like rooftop gardens, vertical gardens, tree covers, and just simply bringing in more green and natural aspects into built environments,” Legarda said.

“We can also improve on rainwater harvesting, restoring degraded lands using drought-resilient plants, agroforestry, regenerative agriculture, and nature-based solutions for adaptation,” she added.

“And of course, as we do all these, let’s also take care of ourselves—drink plenty of water, wear light clothing, and regularly check on our family members. Let’s also make sure we have the right safety measures in workplaces in case of extreme heat,” Legarda concluded. ###