Former Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM) Kiko Pangilinan called for government to intensify preparations amid the worsening case of the El Niño phenomenon.
“We need to ensure that there is enough food for everyone and that food prices remain low. This is the main challenge as prolonged drought would present serious problems on food production. We don’t want that to happen,” said Pangilinan.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier reported that El Niño is expected to reach its peak in the first quarter of 2016 and its effects will be felt by 85 percent of the country until the latter part of April.
Pangilinan said that support for farmers is crucial as they are the ones that will be severely hit by the effects of El Niño.
“Our farmers need all the help that they can get. We urge the fast-tracking of intervention activities such as installation of shallow tube wells, water augmentation through drilling rigs, as well as cloud seeding operations. The emergency employment program for the repair and rehabilitation of irrigation systems should prioritize farmers that are affected by El Niño,” he said.
Pangilinan also urged the public to take precautionary measures to lessen the potential dire effects of El Niño.
“It is important that we as a community also contribute to mitigate the impact of El Niño. We must conserve water as best we can, we need to work hand in hand to be more resilient against climate change,” Pangilinan ended.