We are now in the middle of the hot season in the Philippines, with many towns and cities hitting the the “dangerous heat index” of 41 degrees up to 54 degrees Centigrade. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that 49.2 degrees was recorded last Thursday in Guiuan, Samar,
Scattered sites around the country recorded slightly less heat — 45.8 degrees in Ambulong, Batangas; 44.4 degees in Daet, Camarines Norte; 44.5 degrees in Dagupan City, Pangasinan; 44.4 degrees in Sangley, Point, Cavite; 43,2 degrees at NAIA in Pasay City; 42.4 degrees in Casiguran, Aurora; 42.2 degrees in Masbate City, Masbate; 42.1 degrees in Clark, Pampanga; 41.4 degrees in Port Area, Manila.
Only Baguio Cily up in the Benguet mountains appeared to be doing well in the summer heat – only 24 degrees — which is why hundreds of thousands of lowlanders jam the highways going up to Baguio. There is no storm in sight to bring rains and lower the temperature. There is only the warm easterly wind from the Pacific Ocean.
At times like this, many long for the rains that should come late in May, brought by the “habagat” winds from the southwest. Then when the floods come during the rainy season, along with one typhoon after another, we long for the coming of the “amihan” from the cold north.
Ths is the rhythm of the seasons in the Philippines and we should be used to it by now, although it may seem like some of our recent typhoons were more powerful and destructive than before. The rains seem heavier. And the heat is more intolerable. This is blamed by many on climate change caused by many factors beyond our control in our country – greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the industrial nations, resulting in rising world temperatures, in turn causing the polar glaciers to melt and raise ocean levels, and generating more violent storms.
We are contributing our bit to the worldwide movement to hold back the rise in world temperature to below 1.5 degrees Centigrade over the Industrial Revolution levels, but the greater burden of responsibility for this lies on the shoulders of the big industrial nations, notably the United States and China.
What we can do as one of the world’s smaller nations is to make better use of what nature has given us. We have so much rain at certain times of the year which we must save in dams and weirs and cisterns, for use when summer comes and we suffer from water shortage in our households.
We are now in the middle of a very hot season but very soon, within a few weeks, the rains will come. Along with roads and bridges, airports and seaports, and new government buildings under “Build, Build, Build,” the government should plan for the coming rainy season with infrastructures to save this most previous commodity, our water, which we will soon have in great abundance.