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    Posted June 9, 2014 by

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    El Niño in Phl hotter than P10B funds scam?

    PHILIPPINE Senator Ralph Recto on Monday prodded the Senate to look into the government's El Nino preparations, which is "hotter than the P10 billion pork barrel scandal allegedly orchestrated by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
    "Although it doesn't create burning headlines, El Nino is a threat which we must confront now," said Recto.
    The requested audience with officials from the agriculture (DA) and energy departments (DOE) becomes imperative as the United Nations (UN) floated the possibility of "what could be the worst El Niño in 17 years" even as it follows through on efforts to rebuild in the aftermath of killer typhoon "Yolanda."
    In its latest bulletin on the Philippines, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) raised concern that with prolonged dry spells and stronger storms expected to hit the country this year, tropical cyclones were projected to affect the north with increased intensity.
    In Senate Resolution No. 645, Recto wants the Upper Chamber to summon the responsible DA and DOE officials who should be in the forefront of drafting and implementing the measures that will cushion the effects of the feared dry spell.
    "There are three areas of concern: food, power and drinking water," he said.
    "Will there be enough irrigation water for our farms? What's the fallback if hydroelectric dams run out of water which will power turbines? What is being done so our taps won't go dry?" Recto asked.
    He said it "would be better if the Senate takes a proactive stance and demand what is being done at present, who's minding the store, than do a post-mortem of a probe months from now after the supposed El Nino plans had ended up in fiasco."
    Early this year, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAG-ASA) warned of an El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon which could begin in June 2014 and last until early 2015.
    Going by its past depredations, El Niño harms food supply as it could turn farmlands and fishponds dry and drain dams that supply power, irrigation and drinking water.
    Two past El Niño episodes the country experienced - in 1982-83 and in 1997-98 - racked up hefty agriculture damage.
    The 1998 version left P9.2 billion in farm damages and 600,000 hectares of land dry as a bone.
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