The government is eyeing to assemble a new team which will focus on addressing the El Niño phenomenon “within 10 days,” Allan Tabel, director at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
Tabel, quoted by ABS-CBN News, said the current El Niño task force previously created must be abolished, as this is currently led by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
Tabel said President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. gave the order to create the new team to avoid the current setup of the task force.
NEDA, based on the President’s discussions with other officials, is focused on rehabilitation and post-impact of the weather phenomenon.
Tabel was also quoted saying that the new team will focus on El Niño to formulate a strategy centered on the phenomenon.
“The directive of the President is to form a new El Niño team to craft strategies,” Tabel said.
The official said the new team will likely be led by the DILG, with the Office of Civil Defense as part of this team, among other agencies.
Among those proposed to be included in the team include the Department of Agriculture and a set of experts that could be part of their “support group,” noting the weather phenomenon’s impact in the agriculture, energy, marine, and water resources sectors.
Tabel further said agencies, such as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), will also be at the forefront of the new team
“These are just discussions. But definitely, this is DILG leading the team, with the Office of Civil Defense as co-lead,” Tabel said.
President Marcos, meanwhile, assured the public that there is ample supply of electricity despite the looming dry spell which might affect the country’s hydroelectric plants.
“We have enough supply to meet the demand. What is lacking is the reserve,” said Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella in a media forum in Quezon City.
Fuentebella noted that based on the Department of Energy (DOE) forecast, they are seeing a thinning electricity reserve, which means the country already hit the necessary demand but must secure an additional 4% percent reserve on the demand plus the regulating reserve requirement.
The DOE official said they usually monitor the Luzon condition, especially its power supply and demand because the region’s hydropower plants usually conduct preventive maintenance that could affect energy supply.
To avoid power interruption, Fuentebella said the DOE plans to carry out several measures aimed at ensuring energy efficiency with the participation of various sectors.
One of the measures is avoiding energy wastage such as efficient use of cooling system during the summer, he said.
Another measure is wisely choosing and using energy efficient gadgets and appliances to cut energy consumption.
But in case the country’s energy situation worsens, with the reserve hitting the “red area,” Fuentebella said the agency will adopt the interruptible load program.
And to ensure energy efficiency in the public sector, the DOE official said there is an Inter-Agency Energy Efficiency and Conservation Committee advising government offices to consider flexible working hours.
For instance in the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), personnel who are doing field work are advised not to report back to their offices as a way of cutting back on energy or fuel use.
Fuentebella said they are carrying out a four-day work week office schedule.
Experts have issued warning of a looming El Nino phenomenon that may affect the country in the next few months this year until early next year.