PLANNED WATER SUMMIT TO EASE EL NIÑO IMPACT IN ILOCOS NORTE
LAOAG CITY — The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) is planning to conduct a water summit next week to discuss measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño and mobilize immediate assistance for affected areas.
Edwin Cariño, head of Ilocos Norte’s Sustainable Development Office, said Tuesday that the summit will gather representatives of various farmer and crop grower federations, the academe, research centers, associations of irrigators in the province, and concerned officials of the Department of Agriculture, National Irrigation Authority, and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
Cariño said at least five measures are readily implementable to cushion the impact of El Niño, including rain harvesting; switching to short-gestation crops that do not require abundant water such as monggo, watermelon and pechay; use of enhanced fertilizers that have better water-retention properties; installation of pond liners to collect water and serve as reservoirs; and the use of gray water to avoid wastage and maximize water use.
“The dry spell will trigger widespread drought. We must be proactive in bringing help to our farmers who will bear the brunt of El Niño in affected areas. Sagip buhay dapat tayo ngayon sa ating mga magsasaka (We should save lives for our farmers),” Ilocos Norte Gov. Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, the chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council, said.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has asked the public to brace for a full-blown El Niño this month.
The weather bureau identified several provinces already experiencing drought, namely Ilocos Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao, Sulu, Bukidnon, Basilan, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.
In Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, farmers have started harvesting their crops, such as corn, earlier than schedule before these are laid to waste by the high temperatures.
Marcos said government agencies should be able to release quick response funds in times of disasters like El Niño even if the damage does not involve infrastructure. (PNA)