Philippines readies El Niño contingency plan

El Niño Philippines
Photo by Juanita Swart on

The Philippine Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced on Saturday that it has put in place a contingency plan to address the looming El Niño that experts forecast to occur in the coming months.

DILG Central Office Disaster Information Coordination Center (DILG-CODIX) Director Allan Tabel stated that a new team will be formed to replace the old Task Force El Niño as directed by the President.

This team will review the plans and actions taken in the past and focus on new activities needed to address this new El Niño.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has also met last week to strategize and formulate an action plan for the anticipated weather disturbance.

Tabel said that relevant agencies are reviewing past measures to respond to the phenomenon and taking into account the country’s experience with El Niño in 2019.

“Several ideas are being proposed, including contributions from the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Agriculture, and we are slowly completing the plan to address the new El Niño phenomenon,” Tabel said.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the probability of El Niño occurring within the next two months has reached 70%.

PAGASA’s Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section chief, Analiza Solis, cautioned that the public must prepare for extreme weather events, including intense tropical cyclones, which have been observed during past El Niño periods.

“When El Niño is approaching, historically, our southwest monsoon becomes more intense, bringing more rain,” Solis added. She also referred to tropical cyclones Ondoy and Pepeng, which happened a week apart in 2009, as pre-developments of El Niño.

Amid the looming El Niño, the Department of Energy (DOE) assured the public that the country’s power supply is enough to meet the demand. DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella stated that the department is monitoring hydropower plants, particularly in Luzon.

The government is committed to ensuring that the public is well-informed and prepared for the potential impact of El Niño. The DILG and other concerned agencies continue to coordinate with each other to ensure a timely and effective response to this natural phenomenon. –