LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Dec. 14) — Frost damages on vegetable farms in in northern Benguet, the country’s “vegetable salad bowl” and nearby Mountain Province towns have reached at the most P8 million.
Although officials insist there is nothing to worry because affected areas are isolated, agriculture department officials place the damage of frost at P8,152,037.
At least 614.08 metric tons, mostly potatos, were initially discovered affected in Tublay, Atok and Buguias towns in Benguet and Bauko town in Mountain Province, said Department of Agriculture assistant regional director Gerry Baliang.
He insists, however, that frost in Atok town has only affected barangays Cattubo and Paoay, the town’s highest peaks and not the whole of the town.
According to Mayor Concepcion Balao Atok has recorded a P1 million damage as of press time.
DA-Cordillera’s Agri-business and Marketing Assistance Division Chief Patricio Ananayo also said that the frost phenomenon will not worsen in the coming days because the temperature had risen.
Cordillera agriculture officials are also contented that damages will be controlled as shown in the pattern of the weather as advised by PAGASA. Atok town, however, is asking the weather bureau to install a weather forecasting center in the town.
Salvador Olinares, a weather specialist from the PAGASA-Baguio, is also confident mercury levels will be stable
“Tumaas na temperature natin (Temperature rose ) to a minimum of 14-15 degree Celsius,” he said, comparing it to the December 1 drop to 10.4, the lowest so far since the chill was felt in Baguio and Benguet and the same days when frost was experienced in Atok, Mankayan, Kibungan towns, all in northern Benguet.
Friday’s temperature was recorded by PAGASA at 14.8 degrees. There is also a tendency that mercury levels will rise further but will definitely drop again in January, Olinares said.
The temperature now ranges from 15-23 degrees in Baguio and Benguet with an average of 18 degrees daily.
Chillier in January
PAGASA believes that the chill is felt more in January because the Northeast monsoon, locally known as Amihan, is peaking because of the formation of snow in mainland China and Siberia. The breeze of the snow is brought by the NE monsoon to Northern Luzon, Olinares explained.
The government weatherman also said that the moderate La Niña (wet season) that will be experienced in the coming months may affect weather patterns and temperatures further beyond January.
A 9.0 degrees Celsius was experienced in Baguio and at the most five municipalities in northern Benguet in January this year.
On January 18, 1963, Baguio experienced a biting low of 6.3 degrees Celsius. # Ace Alegre for NORDIS