South Cotabato pushes preparations for El Nino

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 October) — The provincial government of South Cotabato has continued with its preparations against the possible onslaught of a strong El Nino Phenomenon despite the province’s removal from the list of vulnerable areas.

Mila Lorca, acting head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said Friday said they have not slowed down with their mitigation activities as there is a chance that the predicted dry spell could still affect the area.

She said that based on earlier forecasts released by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the El Nino might persist until next year.

“We can’t say that we’re already safe now from the El Nino because of the rains these past weeks as our weather pattern here is very unpredictable and it could even start anytime,” she said in a radio interview.

Based on Pagasa’s El Nino Advisory No. 8, “a strong l Niño is now in progress in the tropical Pacific Ocean.”

It said most prediction models reportedly indicate a continuation of strong El Niño conditions during October to December season, and may last until June next year.

In South Cotabato, the agency said the rainfall levels as of last month remained at “near to above normal.” The area has been experiencing almost daily rains in the last two weeks.

Lorca said only Sarangani remained on the list of areas affected by drought and Davao Oriental for dry spell in the entire Mindanao.

“We’re advocating proper preparedness for the El Nino and that is also being observed at the city and municipal levels,” she said.

The provincial government is currently finalizing the creation of the province’s El Nino task force to enhance its ongoing preparations and mitigation efforts.

The creation of the task force was based on a directive issued by South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes.

The task force will be headed by the PDRRMO and involve various local and national government agencies.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist earlier submitted a proposed El Nino mitigation plan, which requires a funding of around P7.8 million.

The plan seeks to ensure accessible and affordable food supplies in the province during the onslaught of the El Nino.

It also aims to sustain the livelihood of local farmers and prevent the occurrence of farm infestations, she said.

The proposed interventions include the purchase of certified palay seeds, hybrid corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, rodenticides, wheat for the bio-control laboratory and rice for the implementation of the food-for-work program. (MindaNews)