Gov’t tries to soften impact of strong El Niño with RAIN

With the strong El Niňo being experienced in the country now, government is implementing measures to soften the impact of the weather phenomenon.

Regional El Niňo Task Forces were formed across the country to monitor the implementation of the Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Niňo (RAIN), which President Benigno Aquino III approved in December 2015, in the provinces.

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The Department of Budget and Management, meanwhile, gathered the work and financial plans submitted by concerned agencies. In its  Feb. 17, 2016 meeting, the Regional El Niňo Task Force 7 met for the first time to agree on the monitoring form to use, which would require the collection of baseline information on areas and people affected, type of invention or assistance provided, impact on production, food prices, income, health and other social aspects.

The Task Force also agreed to hold regular meetings and to provide timely updates on RAIN implementation to the National El Niňo Task Force.

The RAIN’s objective is to mitigate the adverse impact of the dry spell/drought on food and energy security, health, and safety. At the regional level, National Economic and Development Authority offices throughout the country were tasked to consolidate inputs to the RAIN from regional line agencies concerned and from provincial local government units.

Key interventions under RAIN as identifi ed by the agencies were:
a) On Food Security – production support for rice, corn, high value crops, livestock and fi sheries; emergency employment; livelihood assistance; training of farmers and agricultural workers; water supply augmentation measures for agriculture production; market/price monitoring; and rice importation;
b) On Health with Department of Health as lead;
c) On Safety with Department of Interior and Local Government as lead; and
d) On Water and Energy Conservation Measures – installation of rainwater collection systems; information, education and communication on energy efficiency and conservation.

Implementing these interventions in Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor would entail a total of P900 million, but only P400 million has been funded so far. Some P500 million has been proposed for funding in the first half of 2016.

In the first half of 2015, the state weather bureau warned the country of a strong and mature El Niňo that would peak in December 2015 and last until June 2016.