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Mindoro heat index could reach 42 Celsius – Pagasa

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Mindoro heat index could reach 42 Celsius � Pagasa
A netizen captured the breathtaking sunset as seen from Adela, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro on February 25, 2024.
Photo courtesy of Joshua Penes

MANILA, Philippines — Mindoro is expected to sizzle today with heat index to reach as high as 42 degrees, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), which warned the public to guard against heat stroke and heat cramps.

State meteorologists warned that temperatures could go higher, amid the El Niño phenomenon and the nearing onset of the summer season.

Temperatures could reach over 40 degrees in the Cagayan Valley region, with the heat index – or the actual discomfort that the body feels – aggravated by the humidity during these periods.

Still, PAGASA said that the northeast monsoon is still affecting northern Luzon while easterlies are affecting the rest of the country.

The northeast monsoon, locally known as Amihan, is bringing light rains over Cagayan Valley and Apayao and isolated light rains over the Ilocos Region, the rest of the Cordillera Administrative Region, and Aurora.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country might experience isolated rainshowers due to the easterlies and localized thunderstorms.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said only 0.5 percent of rice fields have been ravaged by the El Niño phenomenon, as it assured assistance for affected farmers.

Agriculture spokesman Arnel De Mesa said the damage was relatively small, covering about 11,000 metric tons of palay.

“With palay, the damage is about 5,000 hectares – and this is pretty small, just 0.5 percent of total area planted right now with palay,” De Mesa said at a forum.

The DA said the damage and losses to agriculture due to El Niño totaled P357.4 million, with Western Visayas being the worst-hit region.

Damage to the region reached P127 million, with around 1,000 hectares of rice fields affected.

De Mesa assured the public that the government is providing assistance to El Niño hit farmers in the form of credit and insurance.

“Our government has already allocated P500 million in credit assistance, this is P25,000 per affected farmer and fisher; and then with insurance claims about P1.8 billion, maximum of P20,000, can be distributed,” he said.

The DA is also providing P5,000 to rice farmers as financial assistance, as well as P3,000 in fuel subsidy alongside other technical assistance.

“On the technical side, of course, our persistence with alternate wetting and drying technology to be adopted by those still planting palay, but we’re already coming towards the harvest. Peak is March and April,” he added.

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