WITHOUT rain until the end of this month, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will be in the state of dry spell.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Cordillera Region said the hot weather is due to the effect of the El Niño phenomenon.

Danny Galate, Pagasa regional meteorologist, said they have not recorded rainfall since November last year.

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"Without rain in four to five months continuously, we are going to experience what we call drought, which is below-below average rainfall," Galate explained.

Engineer John L. Socalo, acting Regional Irrigation Manager of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Cordillera, said they have prepared an El Niño action plan.

The plan includes conduct of massive information, education campaign about the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon at the Irrigators Association (IA) level; mobilization of IAs to clean their own canal networks, implement equitable water distribution within their respective areas of coverage and on farm facilities by giving incentives through "food for work scheme."

The NIA is also set to construct small water impounding projects, small farm reservoir and rehabilitation of irrigation facilities.

The said projects have a budget requirement of Php 160 million, Socalo said.

"For the dry season crop, our target area to be irrigated by communal irrigation system is 28,505 hectares, while the national irrigation system will irrigate 15,772 hectares," Socalo said.

DA Regional Executive Director Cesar Rodriguez said that the DA has also prepared an action plan for the agricultural sector, particularly on Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice, corn; high value commercial crops and livestock.

Rodriguez said Construction and rehabilitation of irrigation system, conduct of information and education campaign, vitamins and antibiotics for the livestock and cloud seeding are included in the plan with a proposed budget of P452,434.92. (Joseph Zambrano)