El Niño task force mobilized to prepare for La Niña

As the worst stage of El Niño is deemed over, the task force created to address the natural phenomenon has been ordered by the national government to begin preparations for the wet season.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro instructed all departments and agencies involved in Task Force El Niño (TFEN) to shift their attention to mitigating the effects of La Niña upon the instructions of President Marcos Jr.

Teodoro, chairperson of the presidential task force on El Niño response, noted the bulletin from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) which showed that La Niña will likely develop from June to August.

The defense chief also noted PAGASA’s report that the El Niño weather phenomenon was weakening, but hotter and drier conditions will persist.

"As El Niño diminishes in its intensity, we must now start preparing for the arrival of La Niña, which is expected to bring above normal rainfall in the country," Teodoro said on Monday, May 13.

"Let's work to mitigate and minimize the damage it can cause to lives and properties. Let us do our best, as the task force has always been doing," he added.

PAGASA also announced that the transition to southwest monsoon may happen during May.

Southwest monsoon, popularly known as habagat, causes rains over the western portion of the Philippines from May to September.

The state weather bureau said it will continue to closely monitor the waning El Niño and the developing La Niña and its effect on the local climate.

Meanwhile, Task Force El Niño spokesman and Communications Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama said that despite the weakening of El Niño, the last few weeks of May are still very critical in terms of water, energy and food conservation.

"Even if we are at the tail end of El Niño, before the climate pattern shifts to neutral conditions and eventually La Niña, the lingering effects of El Niño in the remaining days of this month will still have an impact on our limited resources. We continue to enjoin everyone to be wise in using water, electricity and even food until El Niño has been officially terminated and in preparation for La Niña," Villarama said.