Food, agri products buffer stock good until Q1 2024 amid El Niño threat -- Marcos | Inquirer News

Food, agri products buffer stock good until Q1 2024 amid El Niño threat — Marcos

/ 02:19 PM December 15, 2023

 Bongbong Marcos on food supply

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. (Ryan Leagogo/ file photo)


MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday said that the country’s buffer stock of agricultural products and food may last up to the first quarter of next year amid looming threats to supply brought on by the El Niño phenomenon.


During the inauguration of the Poblacion Water Treatment Facility in Muntinlupa City on Friday, Marcos said that since the latest forecasts show a high probability of El Niño during the first and second quarters of 2024, the government has taken steps to push the buffer stock further so that supply would be sufficient.


“Therefore we must prepare […] and apply some of the lessons that we have learned during the pandemic, when it came to supply of agricultural products, of food, of the efficiencies of the supply chain, all of these would be affected if our water resources are inadequate,” Marcos said.

“And that is why we have now, began in government, a very accelerated effort to prepare for that.  We for all intents and purposes, we have a good buffer until maybe the end of the first quarter.  Now, what we need to do is to prepare a further capacity so that should El Niño extend to the second quarter of next year, we are still at the very least able to supply potable water, especially in the urban areas. We are able to supply our agriculture, our industry,” he added.

According to the Department of Science and Technology, 65 provinces in the Philippines may experience drought by May 2024 due to the effects of a stronger El Niño — with Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. noting that the phenomenon’s effects are already felt for some parts of the country.

State weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that El Niño is characterized by unusually warmer than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

As an effect, below-normal rainfall is expected, which can cause dry spells and droughts in several areas.

Marcos also called on involved government agencies to monitor water-related projects so that these would be expedited and leaking pipes repaired.


This is important, Marcos said, because many industries that the public does not commonly perceive as heavy consumers of water — like hospitals — would be affected should a shortage occur.

“With the El Niño projected to last until the second quarter of 2024, we must prioritize the repair of water pipes to prevent leakages and the completion of ongoing water supply projects to ensure that we have adequate supply.  And so let us call upon the pertinent agencies to intensify in overseeing the construction of water supply facilities, particularly in regions grappling with water scarcity,” he said.

“And one of the elements that we have, that sometimes we do not think about, we think about those major uses of water.  We also have to be thinking about our hospitals — hospitals cannot operate without water, and with the onset of a drought, that would become more and more important as it goes on,” he added.

The Poblacion Water Treatment Plant is a water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. project, which will serve consumers in the southern part of Mega Manila.

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When it becomes fully operational, the treatment plant — which would source water from Laguna Lake — will produce 150 million liters per day (MLD) of potable water for Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa, as well as Cavite province.

TAGS: Bongbong Marcos Jr., El Niño, Food, water

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