Legarda urges preparedness amid ongoing El Niño threat

January 19, 2024

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda urges the public to remain prepared as the country continues to experience the effects of the ongoing strong El Niño.

According to the latest official advisory from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the ongoing El Niño has led to way below-normal rainfall conditions, or greater than 60% rainfall reduction from the normal.

This could bring dry spells and droughts in most parts of Luzon and the Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Zamboanga Peninsula.

The Senator emphasizes the need for proactive measures among local government units, concerned agencies, and the general public to mitigate the potential negative impacts of below-normal rainfall conditions.

“The ongoing El Niño will adversely affect the different climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, energy, health, public safety, and other key sectors of our country,” said Senator Legarda.

“We must be prepared for the challenges brought by the continuing El Niño threat. We must ensure that our water resources, agriculture, and other vital sectors are resilient and equipped to withstand its impacts,” she added.

The Senator further encourages the public to stay informed about weather advisories by utilizing available resources and information from relevant government agencies to guide decision-making and preparedness efforts.

The strong El Niño is expected to persist until May 2024. An El Niño is given a ‘strong’ status once the average sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific becomes 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than normal, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Highlighting the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Senator Legarda emphasizes El Niño as a phenomenon capable of triggering climate extremes worldwide, particularly in its more severe manifestations. This global perspective underscores the importance of coordinated efforts to address and adapt to the challenges posed by El Niño.

Senator Legarda remains committed to working with government agencies and stakeholders to ensure the country’s resilience and preparedness in the face of climate-related challenges.

One of the significant strides towards enhancing the country’s resilience is the National Adaptation Plan (NAP). Developed by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) through an interagency and multi-stakeholder process, the NAP aims to integrate climate change adaptation measures into policies, programs, and projects across various sectors, effectively addressing the challenges posed by climate impact drivers, including El Niño.

“As we continue to face El Niño, let us also continue to work together to safeguard our communities and vital sectors from the impacts of this climatic phenomenon,” Legarda concluded. (End)