Cordillera plans cloud seeding vs. El Niño

Cordillera plans cloud seeding vs. El Niño

BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) is in talks with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Baguio for the conduct of cloud seeding operations to address the effects of the “weak” El Niño or the prolonged dry spell in the country, an official said Friday.

“We have started anticipating the effect of El Niño since January. As early as February, we have already formed the Joint Task Force El Niño that will focus on monitoring and assuring that actions are done,” Office of Civil Defense regional director and chairman of the regional DRRMC, Albert Mogol, said.

Aside from cloud seeding, authorities are continuously distributing surface pump and shallow tube well pumps for irrigation, Mogol added.

According to the country’s weather bureau, the Philippines is experiencing an agricultural drought that causes farmlands to dry up due to lack of water. This is different from the hydromet drought that causes a drop in the water level of aquifers.

Mogol said the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) – Cordillera has prepositioned water pumps in all provinces.

In Kalinga province, which is considered the rice granary of the Cordillera, NIA hydrologist Fremer William reported during the task force meeting on March 25 that they have completed the distribution of surface and shallow tube well pumps.

Mogol said the regional agriculture office has been tasked to coordinate with the PAF for an aerial assessment of the reported PHP1.2-billion damage in agriculture in the Cordillera.

On Wednesday, the DRRMC called for an emergency meeting after the DA-Cordillera reported the damage in farmlands in the region.

Mogol said Ifugao, Kalinga and Apayao are being eyed for cloud seeding, however, the declaration of a state of calamity by the town of Paracelis in the Mountain Province shows that further ground assessment must be done to determine the actual situation. PNA –