THE temperature may have dipped South in the past few days but the El Niño phenomenon is expected to raise temperatures this April just as the Cebu City Niños represent Region 7 in the Palarong Pambansa in Tarlac this April.

And with two heat-related deaths in the 2007 edition of the games, Central Visayas is doing all it can to keep the athletes safe.

“We are doing all preventive measures for our athletes to avoid any untoward incident,” Department of Education’s Resource Mobilization, Special Programs and Project Division Chief Vivian Ginete told Sun.Star Cebu.

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Ginete is part of the ongoing preparation of the Central Visayas Athletic Association (Cviraa) in San Jose, Tarlac City.

She said that they will be meeting with the DepEd Central office officials, undersecretary and tournament managers next week to discuss their concern such as water supply, billeting, and the health of the athletes.

“Not only are we interested in climbing up in the ranking but we are also making sure that our athletes and officials will be safe in the whole duration of the event, especially now that we are experiencing El Niño and it’s also summer,” Ginete said.

She has reasons to be concerned. During the 2007 Palarong Pambansa in Koronadal, a teacher died of heat stroke after attending the opening ceremonies, while another died in the middle of the event.

Unusual heat

And according to Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration Region 7 deputy weather specialist Al Kidlat, April will be extremely hot.

“Knowing it’s El Nino, expect an unusual heat this April. I advise them (the players) not to stay long under the heat of the sun to avoid skin diseases and heat stroke,” Kidlat said.

According to the Pag-asa website, Tarlac’s temperature hit 35 Celsius this week and that is expected to increase. In contrast, the highest temperature for Metro Cebu this week was 33 Celsius.

To combat the heat, Giñete said Cviraa will be bringing a team of doctors, nurses and even a dentist as part of their extra precaution for the heat.

“Tarlac is also preparing their hospitals and medical team just for emergency purposes,” Ginete said

Meanwhile, Cviraa football coach Mario Ceniza said he is trying to acclimatize his team to the hot weather.

“We have so much to do with too little time,” Mario Ceniza said in a telephone interview. “ I am preparing my players na maka adapt sila sa weather didto, because expected na gyud na nga init kaayo.”

Hard time

However, he is having a hard time gathering his team because most of players are still in school.

“Most of the time, we practice around 4:30 pm every other day and this is not the target time I want my team to be exposed, ganahan unta naku ma train sila under the heat of the sun para slowly they can adjust sa weather condition didto and they will be prepared sa ilang games sa Tarlac.”

He added that aside from acclimatization, he will educate his player on proper dehydration.

“Just because you’re not thirsty, dili ka moinom og tubig, I will see to it na akong mga players mo inom tubig regularly, dili bitaw na makadaot, this is for their own good,” he said. “I also heard that due to El Niño, the delegation might experience a water shortage.”