Gov’t to carry out fiscal measures to cushion El Niño impact

THE government will implement fiscal measures to cushion the impact of El Niño phenomenon in the country in addition to other strategies to be carried out by the administration, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday.

“I think we will also have some other strategies concerning the fiscal measures that we can undertake para mabawasan naman ang load sa ating mga kababayan at kahit na kung anong mangyari,” President Marcos said during a media interview in Nueva Ecija after attending the inauguration of an irrigation project.

“We are doing an analysis now of world prices of food to see what would be the appropriate tariff level, what will be the appropriate fiscal measures that we can undertake, at what level do we do this, how much, what percentage, all of these. Pinag-aaralan natin ngayon ‘yan and that will also become part of the effort,” he said.

A task force, to be established most probably next week, will also put together all the data from Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Energy (DOE) for an El Niño database so that the concerned agencies could have access to data for their modeling.

The government is still working on the structure of the task force to show the structure and the general plan, the President said.

But with regard to agriculture, Marcos said the biggest determinant to production levels is irrigation, saying that with better water source, farmers could increase the number cropping season to three, which could increase production immediately by 30 percent.

“So, that’s what we are hoping will be the effect of that. But that is part of the general effort of the DA and of the government to increase our production. It just so happens that that is also what we need to do so that we can secure our rice supply, our food supply,” he said.

The President also mentioned government plan for a massive information campaign with regard to the impending dry spell.

“So, by early next year, we will begin to disseminate this information and let people know what it is that we are doing, what the forecast is going to be, how everyone can help, and what will be our strategies so that we can alleviate the effects of the drought.” 

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