The current crisis affecting our agriculture sector caused by the 2024 El Niño phenomenon should no longer come as a surprise. When PAGASA issued an advisory as early as July last year, Marcos Jr. waited about half a year before issuing Executive Order 53 as a response. He delegated a number of bureaucrats to supposedly oversee preparations as the El Niño task force, even putting up a website specifically for this. But yet again, here we are in the midst of another disaster, with 82,994 families, or 408,135 individuals, already affected, and 16 municipalities declaring a state of calamity, according to NDRRMC. Instead of concrete solutions, for instance cutting off water supply to golf courses, we get inane suggestions from the El Niño task force, such as urging people not to flush their toilets every time they use it. The country needs a holistic response from the El Niño task force and not suggestions that at the end pass the responsibilities to the people.

El Niño is not a fairly new concept in the Philippines as it has been introduced to the public since the late 1990s, but as a reminder on what it is here’s a quick read. The typical effect on our side of the world of this unusual warming of the ocean waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean is less rainfall than expected. For a country with a predominantly agricultural base, and where many from the rural population rely on subsistence farming and are dependent on the landlord-farmer land relations, less rain will have disastrous consequences for many Filipinos. And that is what has happened to date, government agencies report over PhP1B worth of agricultural damages across the country. That means little to no income and hunger for many families that depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood.

This is an excerpt from a new article on Lab Notes: El Niño 2024: another disaster, another government failure by Narod Eco. Read more on Bulatlat:


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