The provinces of Isabela, Quezon, Bicol Region, Samar, Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental are especially vulnerable to the effects of La Niña even as the Palace has prepared what it deems a comprehensive program to mitigate its effects.
La Niña is a weather phenomenon characterized by unusually cool ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific.
The program is part of the government’s overall strategy on climate change resiliency, said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
“This covers agriculture, flood control and disaster risk reduction measures at the grassroots level,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government has tasked all local government units to carry out their disaster preparedness measures as the rainy season begins.
Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, in a directive, urged all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, and DILG regional directors to take precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility.
Sarmiento also reminded LGUs to implement the early preparedness actions listed in the Operation Listo Manuals for hydro-meteorological hazards. These are contained in the checklist of critical preparations for mayors, checklist of early preparations for mayors, and checklist for municipal local government operations officers, chiefs of police, and fire marshalls.
These manuals lay down disaster preparedness minimum standards before, during, and after a disaster.
State weather bureau Pagasa released a statement saying that it has activated its La Niña Watch.
If the climate condition does not change, the impact of La Niña will be felt in the last quarter of 2016, according to Anthony Lucero, officer-in-charge of Pagasa’s Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section.
He added, however, that La Niña isn’t all bad news, especially for drought-hit areas.
“On the other side of the coin, La Niña also has benefits... It is possible to grow crops in sloping areas and mountainous areas, and we could raise crops in areas that cannot be reached by irrigation. So there are also benefits if we are to prepare as early as now, even if there is no La Niña yet,” Lucero said.
“We have to take precautionary measures. We should plan ahead so that we can mitigate the adverse impacts of La Niña. If our area is flood-prone, then we should think of how we are to avoid hazards that may happen,” Lucero said.