Dried up La Mesa Dam in Quezon City is pictured in this March 9, 2019 photo.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
NDRRMC releases P18.3 million for cloud seeding ops
(Philstar.com) - March 14, 2019 - 4:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has released P18.3 million for cloud seeding operations as parts of the country grapple with the drought brought by the El Niño phenomenon.

The total amount has been released to the regional offices of the Department of Agriculture for cloud seeding operations with the Philippine Air Force.

NDRRMC said cloud seeding operation—a process of combining chemical agents with existing clouds to thicken them and increase the chance of rain—has been recommended for Cagayan Valley and Soccsksargen. It would be done from March 14 to May 21.

“We want to assure the public that the government is doing everything to ensure adequate water supply for all. These agencies present in today’s meeting, especially those working with the water sector will continue to collaborate to provide these needed services to the public,” NDRRMC Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said. 

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Monday ordered the agency’s regional offices to conduct cloud seeding operations.

But state weather bureau PAGASA warned cloud seeding is not that simple.

“Kailangan iyong meron tayong mga thunderstorm clouds na puwedeng lagyan natin ng mga salt na puwedeng magpaulan (There have to be thunderstorm clouds that you can use salt on to try to produce rain),” PAGASA hydrologist Elmer Caringal told One News.

Damages due to El Niño has reached P464.3 million for production loss and 22.918 metric tons in volume loss, according to DA.

The phenomenon has also affected 16,034 farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Soccsksargen, Mimaropa and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Some areas in Metro Manila and Rizal have been experiencing a shortage of water supply since late last week.

Manila Water, which services over six million people in the east zone of Metro Manila, has been implementing water service interruptions citing high demand and low supply because of El Niño. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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