More funds sought for mitigation projects
The Department of Agriculture has asked Malacañang for P769 million in funds to shore up interventions for El Niño even as it prepares for a probable onset of La Niña later this year.
Agriculture Undersecretary Emerson U. Palad Wednesday told reporters the package was being requested from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which endorsed the request to the Office of the President.
Palad said the amount was on top of a request for the Department of Budget and Management to replenish the DA’s P500-million quick response fund or QRF intended to bankroll the agency’s disaster response efforts.
“The QRF is for (post-disaster) rehabilitation initiatives while the funding requested from the NDRRMC is for control and mitigation (of climate change effects),” he said.
These funds, if we get them, will be used for the remainder of the El Niño as well as the subsequent typhoon season or even the onset of La Niña, which is expected to develop after the El Niño,” Palad said.
According to the DA’s field operations services, the El Niño has claimed a total of P8.68 billion worth of crops and other farm products based on monitoring from Jan. 1 to May 3.
Of the amount, P1.67 billion was attributed to the infestation of pests like rats, which was encouraged by dry conditions in the fields.
Last April, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) raised the alert on a possible onset of La Niña later this year while warning that the humanitarian impact of the ongoing El Niño would drag on even as the latter continued to wane.
Citing forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia, the UN Ocha said the current El Niño was expected to persist until mid-2016, with a 50-percent chance that La Niña would follow.
In areas where El Niño brings below average rainfall and increased temperatures, such as the Philippines, La Niña is often responsible for above-average rainfall and cooler temperatures.
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