THE DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology (DOST) forecast El Niño to become stronger in the first quarter and peak in April next year.
However, DOST Sec. Renato Solidum said some parts of the Davao Region, Caraga, and the eastern side of Mindanao will not be affected by drought and dry conditions.
Citing the latest data, Solidum said during the Malacañang press briefing on Dec. 19 that a strong El Niño will persist until the first half of 2024.
“The peak of El Niño in terms of drought will be April 2024, which is slightly different from the forecast last week or two weeks ago that it will be May,” he said.
“A possible rainfall which is slightly normal or below normal from May to June and hence we can actually still prepare for the effects of El Niño as spoken last week,” Solidum added.
Some 63 provinces in the country will experience drought while dry spells will be felt in 12 provinces.
The secretary explained that a dry spell is when rainfall is 21-60% below normal for three consecutive months.
For instance, if the rainfall is way below normal or is above 60% for two consecutive months, it will be called a dry spell while if it is felt for three consecutive months, it shall be considered a drought.
To prop up the country against the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. activated the El Niño Task Force, which will be co-chaired by the DOST. He is set to issue an executive order to ensure the government and various agencies will work together to mitigate the effects of the dry spell.
“Maglalabas po ang ating Pangulo ng executive order para mapaghandaan ng maaga at masolusyonan ng mabilisan, [magkaroon] ng maaring interventions na mabilisan at patuloy po na monitoring at pag-aagap sa maaaring maging epekto ng El Niño,” said Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. during the same press briefing.
The defense secretary noted that the EO will take into consideration food, energy, health, water security, and public safety as the five critical sectors.
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