The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) approved the request of Cebu Provincial Government to do cloud seeding operations in the province from May 18 to June 2.
In an April 21 letter, Governor Hilario P. Davide III requested for an urgent cloud seeding operations in Cebu after learning PAGASA conducted cloud seeding operations in Bohol to address the effects of El Niño phenomenon.
He explained that Cebu’s watersheds and farm fields have been drying up, causing agricultural and livelihood damage due to El Niño.
“The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu already declared the Province of Cebu under state of calamity due to the ill effects of El Niño, particularly on agriculture,” Davide said.
“Metro Cebu’s water supply has reached critical levels, thus, the urgent need for rain to provide immediate relief and assistance to affected communities in the province,” he added.
However, before proceeding to the actual cloud seeding operations, PAGASA will conduct a training-seminar and information, education and communication (IEC) campaign on El Niño, cloud seeding and other mitigating measures.
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Vicente Malano, PAGASA acting administrator, said that the IEC aims to “understand the principles behind cloud seeding, identify some aspects in the operation which could be improved and gain more information on El Niño and how to mitigate its impacts”.
The IEC training-seminar will be on May 20 at the Dignitaries Lounge in Cebu Provincial Capitol. The IEC will discuss topics such as standards for cloud seeding operations and recent experiences in cloud seeding. A roundtable discussion will also take place for stakeholders to raise issues and concern.
El Niño is a phenomenon when there is a prolonged or abnormal warming in the sea surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean.
In the Philippines, El Niño started March last year and has affected many water sources, agricultural products and livestock.