MANILA — With El Niño threatening to affect at least 36 provinces amid rising temperatures, Climate Change Commissioner Albert Dela Cruz urged local government units (LGUs) across the country to take preparatory measures to respond to the possible shortage in water supply and agricultural produce towards through the last quarter of the year.

Fresh from an ocular visit to the heavily silted Limahong River and its tributaries in Lingayen, Pangasinan, Commissioner Dela Cruz echoed the warning issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) regarding the adverse effects of the weather phenomenon that may affect the country’s water resources and agricultural production.

“Although El Niño is still ‘weak’ at the moment, it is expected to become stronger in the succeeding months. PAGASA has projected that there will be no large reduction in rainfall volume from July to September but before the year’s end, we may experience dry spells—below normal rainfall conditions for three consecutive months or way below normal for two consecutive months,” the climate official reiterated from PAGASA’s report.

Expected to be affected by the dry spells are the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Metro Manila, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Spratlys Islands, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes while Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Leyte may also suffer the same.

“This is where and when we realize the importance of taking action to the impacts of climate change and global warming. The only way for us to survive these extreme conditions is through mitigation and adaptation, both of which we have been repeatedly urging LGUs to promote and implement,” Dela Cruz pointed out.

With these developments, the climate official concluded by renewing the call to the committee of the People’s Survival Fund (PSD) program, headed by the Department of Finance (DoF) and which the Climate Change Commission (CCC) is a member, to release the remaining more or less ₱600 million to help vulnerable LGUs in committing water security for their constituency. (IA/MNM)