Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today said that Filipinos must learn to accept the growing intensity of typhoons, including the great volume of water that comes with storm or monsoon rains, as well as the long drought during the dry season, as the “new normal”.
“There is nothing we could do but to adapt to climate change and the only way we could be prepared for the impact of climate change is to accept that these recent developments in our country like intense weather disturbances, heavy rainfall, as well as long dry season are now the “new normal,” Paje said in an interview in PTV Channel 4.
Paje also urged people to listen to authorities during calamities and stop being “sutil” (stubborn) when they are asked to evacuate to safer grounds. The landslide area at Litex in Brgy. Commonwealth, Quezon City has been identified as susceptible to landslide in 2002.
He said he would ask the local government of Quezon City to have the area be declared as a “permanent danger zone”.
According to Paje, the Philippines has been identified to be highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For this, he said, the government has been working on long term solutions to minimize damage on people and government infrastructures.
He cited the convergence project his agency is working with the Department of Public Works and Highways in building small water impounding dams in the uplands.
“If you allow rainwater to go down the watersheds it would result in flooding. But if you can impound them, the water becomes precious resource that you can use during the dry season,” Paje stressed.
According to him, the Agriculture Department has already successfully developed new rice varieties that are resilient to climate change.
He also said the DENR through its Mines and Geosciences is developing new bigger geohazard maps with a scale of 1:10,000, which will be distributed down to the barangay level.
The DENR has previously distributed more than 75,000 geohazard maps with scale of 1:50,000.