Pangasinan Residents Grapple with Soaring Temperatures Amid El Niño

BINMALEY, Pangasinan — Residents of Pangasinan are facing extreme heat, with the heat index reaching between 45 to 49 degrees Celsius in recent weeks, a phenomenon attributed to the current El Niño. Renzo Maniacop, a traffic enforcer with the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) in the region, emphasized the importance of staying hydrated and seeking shade to combat the effects of the heat, during an interview on Friday.

According to Philippines News Agency, traffic enforcers and other outdoor workers are adopting strategies to cope with the heat, such as taking breaks in shaded areas and maintaining regular hydration. He also highlighted the necessity of managing traffic efficiently to prevent jams, which can exacerbate the heat experience on the roads, affecting both enforcers and the public. Additionally, he reminded those with health conditions like hypertension to stay vigilant about their medication.

The local government in Binmaley has implemented a four-day work week, running from Monday to Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., effective from April 22 to June 30, to help mitigate the heat’s impact on workers. This schedule adjustment excludes critical service personnel in departments such as the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and traffic management.

In nearby Asingan, municipal information officer Romel Aguilar noted that air conditioning in offices is helping alleviate the discomfort of high temperatures, with outdoor activities being limited to protect employee well-being.

Despite the challenges, the heat wave is providing economic opportunities for some. In Dagupan City, Jovie Perochole, a vendor of buko (coconut) juice, reported an increase in sales from 30 to 50 coconuts per day due to the higher demand driven by the heat. Similarly, street vendor Richard Podalla has seen a significant uptick in his juice drink sales, often selling out by day’s end.

Health concerns associated with the heat are under close monitoring by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1). Dr. Rheuel Bobis, a medical officer, stated in a phone interview that they are keeping track of conditions such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. He advised the public to remain indoors during peak sun hours, use sun protection like umbrellas and hats, wear breathable cotton clothing, and stay hydrated. The Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City has already recorded one case of probable heat exhaustion and is continuing to collect data from other facilities.