WITH the country again experiencing El Niño, a lawmaker has urged Filipinos to continue planting trees to help mitigate the harsh effects of the weather phenomenon.
Rizal 4th District Rep. Juan Fidel F. Nograles underscored the need to “aggressively restore the country’s forest cover” as a measure against El Niño and long-term climate change.
“Our forests serve as a buffer against weather-related disasters. They release moisture into the atmosphere to counter droughts and shield us against typhoons and prevent flooding,” Nograles said. “We encourage our citizens to continue planting trees in their communities to mitigate the effects of El Niño.”
The lawmaker added that “tree planting is an excellent communal activity that has a positive effect and I hope more local leaders will organize and engage in this activity so that we can restore our country’s greenness.”
Last month, Nograles led the town of Montalban in a tree-planting activity to commemorate the town’s 152nd founding anniversary. Around 4,000 saplings were planted along the Wawa riverbank and mountainside.
More than 6,000 students, senior citizens and women from the town participated in the activity, which also included the “Forward Nature” advocacy walk.
Nograles has been advocating for the government and communities to be active in implementing measures that would protect against climate change.
El Niño increases the likelihood of unusually low rainfall conditions that could cause the water hoard in dams to fall below functional levels.
According to PAGASA, there have been seven severe El Nino events since 1980, with the last one lasting from 2015 to 2016, inflicting $327 million in agricultural losses.
In the previous El Niño event that persisted from the last quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, up to 61 percent of the country endured a drought while the other 39 percent underwent a dry spell.
A drought means three consecutive months of greater than 60 percent reduction from average rainfall, or five consecutive months of 21-percent to 60-percent reduction from average rainfall.
A dry spell means three consecutive months of 21 to 60 percent reduction from average rainfall, or two consecutive months of greater than 60-percent reduction from average rainfall.