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Chamber exec sees crises due to El Niño

By NITZ ARANCON
Correspondent . 

A FORMER president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry sounded alarm bells over the prospects of several crises hitting the country as a result of a likely dry spell ahead due to the El Niño phenomenon.

The El Niño has the potentials of hurting the economy, said former Oro Chamber president Efren Uy even as he called on the government to act this early so as to cushion the impact of a likely dry spell.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has warned of warmer and drier months ahead because of the El Niño.

The rainfall in the country since last year has not been enough, and weather specialist Luz Mercado said the El Niño would make the summer months drier even as she advised farmers to think about what to plant.

Councilor George Goking, chairman of the city council’s committee on trade and commerce, said he was worried about a possible power crisis in Mindanao.

Much of Mindanao’s power is produced by hyrdroelectric plants although in recent years, it has increased its power-generation capacity by allowing more coal-fired power plants.

Goking said a dry spell could also affect the water supply.

“If that will happen, it will  definitely affect the economic activities,” Uy, a member of Oro Chamber’s board of trustees.

He called on the national and local governments of immediately map out plans so that the adverse effects of El Niño would be lessened.

Uy said the government could draw lessons from dry spells that affected the country in recent years.

“If the government is fast enough [in putting in place] precautionary measures, it will lessen the impact of El Niño,” he said.

Goking, meanwhile, said  the city council’s trade committee would call for a meeting of business and power sector representatives, and other stakeholders to tackle the El Niño threat.

He said local officials want to collate ideas and suggestions about what specific actions to take so as to cushion the El Niño’s effects.

Goking said the first effect to be felt by consumers is the increase in their power bills “kay kon init kayo ang panahon, dako sila ug  konsumo, sa power.”

Goking said he feared Mindanao’s hydroelectric power sources would not produce enough electricity, and significantly reduce the island’s overall power-generation capacity. He said he was also worried that sources of tap water would dry up, resulting in a water supply crisis.

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