MALACAÑANG has reactivated the El Niño Task Force in an effort to mitigate the adverse impacts of the recurring weather phenomenon on the country.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by authority of President Rodrigo Duterte, signed Memorandum Order (MO) 38, reactivating the presidential task force created under Executive Order (EO) 16 inked in 2001 and tasked to enhance agency coordination in the formulation of mitigating measures for the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
Medialdea signed MO 38 on August 13, following the observation of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa) that there is "75 percent probability" that the El Niño phenomenon will persist from June until August this year.
"Recent monitoring and analysis of the... Pagasa indicate that the warm sea surgace temperature which started in November of last year in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific has fully developed into the El Niño phenomenon," the order read.
"The recurrence of the El Niño phenomenon calls for the implementation of both short and long-term solutions to ensure food, water and energy security, safeguard livelihoods, and improve the country's disaster and climate resilience," it added.
Under MO 38, the Socioeconomic Planing Secretary is designated as the over-all head of the El Niño task force.
Meantime, Agriculture, Environment, Energy, Health, and Local Government secretaries are assigned as respective heads for food security, water security, energy security, health, and safety.
Task force members are secretaries of Science, Defense, Social Welfare, Labor, Trade, and Communications departments; National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chair; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority head; and administrators of Office of Civil Defense, National Food Authority, National Irrigation Authority, and Pagasa.
MO 38 directs the task force to revise and update the Roadmap for Addressing the Impacts of El Niño.
The task force is also ordered monitor the implementation of short and lng-term solutions and programs on food security, water security, energy security, health, and safety.
It is likewise required to submit a monthly report on the implementation of MO 38 to the President through the Executive Secretary.
The funding requirements for the implementation of the order will be taken from the existing appropriations of the member agencies of the task force.
MO 38, which was released by the Palace just on Friday, August 16, will take effect immediately. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)