QUEZON CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is gearing up to implement various interventions in anticipation of the La Niña phenomenon, a spokesperson announced on Saturday. DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa assured the public during the Saturday News Forum that the department is ready, even though La Niña has not yet officially begun.

According to Philippines News Agency, the DA is currently on a La Niña watch, with expectations that the phenomenon will commence in the last quarter of the year. The planned interventions include water management strategies and the distribution of flood-tolerant rice varieties. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is also tasked with ensuring the functionality of irrigation systems. “NIA, together with our regional offices, is making sure that the irrigation systems are working,” de Mesa stated.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has indicated a 69 percent likelihood of La Niña developing during the months of July, August, and September, which would increase the probability of above-normal rainfall conditions in certain areas of the country.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has assured farmers that the government is taking steps to mitigate the effects of the impending La Niña. The Department of Energy is also preparing to prevent damage to transmission lines.

In addition to these measures, de Mesa mentioned that the DA continues its water impounding projects to store rainfall for use during dry spells. To date, the Marcos administration has provided over PHP9 billion in aid for farmers and fisherfolk affected by the El Niño phenomenon. The President has personally distributed more than PHP700 million under the Presidential Assistance to Farmers and Fisherfolks program.

Among the regions visited by the President for this aid distribution were Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, Northern Mindanao, Bangsamoro, Davao, Bicol, Cagayan Valley, and Caraga.

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