Climate change affects Mindanao: Environment advocate

AN ENVIRONMENTALIST expressed her apprehension over the adverse implication of climate change in Mindanao considering that it is an agriculture area that hosts a number of crops that provides food for the country.

Renewable energy advocate Jessica Dator-Bercilla, Senior Advocacy and Policy Office for Asia and the Middle East for Christian Aid, said that although there are other parts of the country who will suffer more due to the escalation of climate change, Mindanao would be greatly affected being an agricultural area.

"It's a concern because it's an agricultural area. May mga conflict zones ka na matatamaan maraming mahihirap na dependent sa agriculture (that you will hit, a lot of the poor will be affected that are dependent with agriculture)," she said.

The Philippines, according to the 2016 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, is the 13th most climate change vulnerable out of the 186 countries and what makes it disturbing for them is that Mindanao once struck by this weather-related phenomenon, its people and environment will suffer due to lower yield of harvest due to severe drought.

Bercilla said that in the future, the temperature will increase in certain parts of Mindanao, meaning there would be a little rain in some parts while the other side will experience high temperature based on downscale climate data.

"So hindi mo sasabihin na lahat ng part ng Mindanao ay iinit o lahat ng parts ng Mindanao ay uulan (You can't say that all parts of Mindanao will get hot or all parts of Mindanao will have rain)," she explained.

She said that if the precipitation is lowered, it will affect the economic backbone of agriculture-dependent Mindanao.

"That is where the concern is coming from plus the fact that energy development in Mindanao in the past years was anchored on hydroelectric power plants," she said.

Since there would be less precipitation, she said that the hydro plants
which are dependent on water can no longer sustain the power demand of their consumer. Thus, they promote alternative energy sources that are clean, safer and sustainable - renewable energy.

She said scientists assess climate data in a minimum of 30 years to determine the change in climate, using different models.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has done a study based on climate change projections in the Philippines and she said that within the period of 2025-2036 and beyond that, "You could actually see that there is a projected increase of more than one degree in several parts of Mindanao, that's a Pagasa study."

The used to be typhoon-free Mindanao has been experiencing typhoons as the effect of global warming. In 2011, Typhoon Sendong damaged an estimated P2.7 billion worth of properties and livelihood in the area.

The 40 percent of the Philippines' domestic food needs and 30 percent of
the country's food exports come from Mindanao.

Inn 2012, Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao anew, affecting 6.3 million people, with more than 200,000 homes damaged or destroyed P36.95 billion worth of infrastructure, agricultural products and private properties based on the data of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
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