Seven months after the Philippines was inundated by fierce typhoons, the country is again earning climate change’s another fury. The intense heat of El Nino phenomenon or prolonged dry spell—has not only been drying up farmlands nationwide but also creating power shortage which results to eight-to-twelve hour daily blackouts in Mindanao and frequent electricity shutdowns in Luzon and Visayas. The high temperature has also significantly reduced water supply in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
As early as July 2009, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) has predicted that El Nino will again strike back the following year, adding that the impact would not be as great as that of 1998 when the freak weather phenomenon created havoc among industries, most notably the agriculture sector. Though Pag-asa sees a weak-to-moderate strength of El Nino, it already advised the farming sector to plan their planting period and implement mitigation measures against possible adverse outcome.
Estimates by government agencies reveal that El Nino damages could reach PHP20 billion and as of April 7, losses are already standing at PHP9.5 billion. Citing the latest report from the National Disaster Coordinating Council, about 753,606 hectares of lands had been affected, with an equivalent production loss of 685,485 tonnes, including 300,000 tonnes of paddy rice (palay) production.