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Loren asks DA for results of climate change adaptaion campaign to avert La Niña destruction

June 10, 2010

SENATE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON LOREN LEGARDA ASKED THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (DA) FOR UPDATES ON THE PROGRESS OF THE INSTALLATION OF RAINWATER HARVESTING SYSTEMS IN TYPHOON AND FLOOD PRONE AGRICULTURAL AREAS IN THE COUNTRY. THE LADY SENATOR SAID THAT SHE EXPECTS ACCEPTABLE CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND RISK REDUCTION MEASURES HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE FOR THE PAST SEMESTER BY CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SO THAT WE WILL NOT EXPERIENCE THE SAME DEVASTATION WE HAD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY LAST YEAR. SHE SAID THAT RAINWATER HARVESTING IS ONE OF THE STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS WE SHOULD HAVE PUT IN PLACE TO AVERT DESTRUCTION AND TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF OUR FOOD SECURITY EFFORTS. MORE TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS FLOOD-TOLERANT CROP VARIETIES SHOULD BE READY FOR THE FAMERS—ESPECIALLY IMPOVERISHED FARMERS—TO ACCESS AND QUICK-LOAN FACILITATION TO LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS FOR STURDY ANIMAL HOUSING SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXTENDED IN PREPARATION FOR LA NIÑA.
“I spent my campaign time and resources for my climate change advocacies and I hope I was heard. We would know if I was heard when La Niña visits us this year,” Loren said.
The lady senator who also chairs the Senate Oversight Committee on Climate Change (SOCCC) and the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM) said that last April 22, her committees held an Earth Day celebration in Bulacan, Zambales, Albay, South Cotabato and Negros Occidental which highlighted the theme on collecting rainwater during rainy season for use during the hot season especially when there is El Niño. Attended by the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Soils and Water Management staff, the Provincial and Municipal Agriculturists and farmers in the mentioned areas, the celebration became a venue for the forging of agreement among the participants that rainwater harvesting systems would be introduced in critical places to be identified by the farmers and considered by the DA for appropriate technologies and design.
Loren said that the Philippines has abundant water resources with average annual rainfall of 2,440 mm for a total dependable surface water supply of 125.8B cubic meters and groundwater potential of 20.2B cubic meters.
However, due to inadequate infrastructure, these water resources are not maximized (only around 28% of annual rainfall is utilized) while water shortages are experienced in several parts of the country.
The agricultural sector (accounting for 81% of total water consumption in 2007) suffers the brunt of any shortage as water supply priority is given to municipal and industrial use.
Loren is asking the DA on how it coordinated with concerned agencies on the allocation of water resources to various uses such as households, industry and agriculture. At present, our farms have 1.3 million hectares of rain fed areas and 1 million hectares of marginal lands. The lady senator said that the DA should have a solution by now on how to serve the marginal lands in order to solve the problems resulting from climate change—particularly destruction in the country’s resources and vulnerability of our food security zones.
Loren also said that in July when legislative session opens, she will ask for a comprehensive water security program from concerned water agencies. She said that the DA—the lead department in the implementation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) should be ready with its proposed five-year plan which she asked the Department to craft last budget year.
“I asked my COCAFM staff to coordinate with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Agriculture in regard to the formulation of the strategic five-year plan and budget even while the election season was at its peak. They should be ready with concrete proposals when we ask for these. ,” Loren said.