In its first quarter full council meeting attended by representatives from all attached agencies and presided over by Defense Secretary and NDRRMC chairman Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the damage caused by the dry spell is already massive.
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Dry spell damage to farmers over P1 billion — NDRRMC
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The prevailing dry spell over 14 regions in the country has affected thousands of farmers and has resulted in production loss amounting to more than P1 billion, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Coordinating Council (NDRRMC) reported yesterday.

In its first quarter full council meeting attended by representatives from all attached agencies and presided over by Defense Secretary and NDRRMC chairman Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the damage caused by the dry spell is already massive.

“As of March 18, production loss due to El Niño has reached P1.3 billion, while 84,932 farmers have been affected. The total area affected is 70,353 hectares,” DA reports released yesterday by the NDRRMC showed.

“Corn and rice were identified as the affected commodities,” NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator Ricardo Jalad said.

Regions affected by the dry spell, according to Jalad, are the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), Bicol, Western and Eastern Visayas, Western and Northern Mindanao, Davao, Central Mindanao and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

As a remedy, Jalad said cloud-seeding operations have been conducted in Cagayan Valley, Davao Region and Central Mindanao on Tuesday.

Another round of cloud-seeding operations is scheduled on Monday with the assistance of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

The PAF has committed to the DA its planes capable of cloud seeding operations to at least save soon-to-be harvested crops from getting destroyed by the dry spell.

One of the remedies also seen by the DA, according to Jalad, is to assist the affected farmers in the implementation of a modified cropping calendar and changing the cropping pattern.

“To mitigate the effects of El Niño on the Philippine power system, the Department of Energy (DOE) shall ensure that power plants have minimal forced outages and shall manage maintenance schedules,” Jalad said, citing discussions during the full council meeting.

High-pressure area

Meanwhile, the ridge of high-pressure area (HPA) is affecting Northern and Central Luzon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday.

“Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to localized thunderstorms,” the PAGASA bulletin noted.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience partly cloudy skies because of the ridge of high-pressure area.

Coastal waters in the eastern sections of Southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao will be moderate to occasionally rough.

In Northern Luzon and the eastern section of Central Luzon, coastal water conditions will be slight to moderate. In the rest of the country, coastal waters will also be slight to moderate.   – With Rhodina Villanueva

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DROUGHT NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND COORDINATING COUNCIL
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