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Effects of El Niño phenomenon could extend in the Philippines

Manila, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) The number of provinces in the Philippines affected by the El Niño Phenomenon is expected to increase to more than 70 in the next three months, despite the weakening of the climatic physical process, a government source informed today.

El Niño Task Force spokesman and Undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Office Joey Villarama reported that the number of affected provinces could increase to 76, according to the forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services.

Currently, 67 provinces in eight regions of the country are being struck by the phenomenon; in fact, 30 of those territories are already experiencing drought, the spokesman warned.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture earlier reported that total damages to the agricultural sector reached Php1.75 billion (more than US$31 million).

The weather bureau disclosed that the weather event may continue to weaken through March, April, and May seasons.