Measures to cushion El Niño’s impact in Pangasinan still in place

EL NIÑO MITIGATION. The National Irrigation Administration distributes water pumps to irrigators associations in Pangasinan in an undated photo. It is part of the mitigating measures to cushion the impacts of El Niño to the farmers.
EL NIÑO MITIGATION. The National Irrigation Administration distributes water pumps to irrigators associations in Pangasinan in an undated photo. It is part of the mitigating measures to cushion the impacts of El Niño to the farmers. (Photo courtesy of NIA Ilocos Region)

VARIOUS national government agencies continue to implement measures to cushion the impact of the El Niño phenomenon in Pangasinan province.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has distributed 61 water pumps to the 37 irrigators associations in the fourth district of Pangasinan.

In a statement, NIA said the beneficiaries were validated as those located in areas vulnerable to the effect of the dry spell.

United Anolid Irrigators Association president Ronnie Tanati, in a phone interview Thursday, February 29, 2024, said they are grateful for the equipment provision.

"We are very thankful since some of our areas are already experiencing dry spell," he said.

Department of Agriculture-Ilocos information officer Vida Cacal, in a recent interview, said the DA’s mitigation plan includes the optimization of production in vulnerable areas, provision of seeds and other farm inputs, establishment of additional irrigation facilities, repair and rehabilitation of irrigation canals and cloud seeding.

She said they have distributed farm animals to farmers in vulnerable areas as an alternative source of income just in case their crops will be affected by the dry spell.

She said they urge farmers to plant early-maturing plant varieties, alternative crops and drought-resistant crops like cassava, mung beans, pepper and sweet potato.

“We also taught them water saving technology with a turn-around strategy,” she said, adding that DA is making these measures part of the department’s regular programs.

In early 2023, the DA implemented preparatory activities like retooling and strengthening of the disaster task force and monitoring of local field conditions.

“We have already produced information and education campaign materials regarding El Niño. We have also started the provisions of water pumps in rain-fed areas and buffer stocking of seeds, which are part of the preparatory activities,” Cacal said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has allocated P86.8 million for the Risk Resiliency Program (RRP) in Ilocos Region from February to June this year.

DSWD-Ilocos Region Disaster Response Management Division chief Maricel Caleja said some 9,978 families from 20 local government units (LGUs) with high poverty incidence are targeted to benefit from the cash-for-work and cash-for-training programs.

She said beneficiaries will earn P435 per day for 20 days, 16 days of which will be spent working while four will be allotted for skills training.

The beneficiaries will come from the towns of Adams, Badoc, Dumalneg, Nueva Era, and Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte; Burgos, Cervantes, Quirino, Sugpon, and Suyo in Ilocos Sur; San Carlos City, Urbiztondo, Mabini, Burgos and Agno in Pangasinan; and Aringay, Bagulin, Caba, San Gabriel and Santol towns La Union.

Caleja said the beneficiaries were chosen based on the climate outlook study and were identified by LGUs based on the third assessment of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), or the program known as Listahanan 3, which aims to identify poor households nationwide.

“Some of them are farmers and fisherfolk,” she said.

“Climate change mitigation recommendation is on drought. The focus of the program is towards mitigation of El Niño,” she added.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Dagupan City chief meteorological officer Jose Estrada Jr. said Pangasinan will experience drought until the second quarter of this year.

He said the amount of rainfall in the province to date is way below normal, with only two millimeters recorded since last January.

On Jan. 19, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order No. 53 to streamline, reactivate, and reconstitute the old El Niño Task Force under EO No. 16 (s. 2001) and Memorandum Order No. 38 (s. 2019).

Under EO No. 53, the President instructed the task force to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan for El Niño and La Niña to provide “systematic, holistic, and results-driven interventions” to help the public cope and minimize their devastating effects. (PNA)


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