Press Release | 11 March 2024

The Department of Health (DOH) has assured President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that hospitals across the country will remain up and running despite the El Niño phenomenon.

In a report to the President’s task force on El Niño response, DOH officials said they are working closely with national government agencies to ensure that healthcare services will not be disrupted.

Amid the DOH’s efforts, the President’s task force is also carrying out measures to avert threats of water shortage and power outage.

On Sunday, Secretary of Health Teodoro J. Herbosa said, “We are ready for El Niño. Our hospitals will stay up and running despite anticipated power and water challenges. There are contingency plans in place.”

In a report to the presidential Task Force El Niño, Dr. Juan Javier F. Garchitorena, of the DOH Health Emergency Management Bureau – Response Division, said “we have endorsed to partner national government agencies a list of health facilities with issues on water and energy security for guidance and possible agreement on the prioritization of these facilities in cases of water shortage and power outage.”

Dr. Garchitorena said the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources; Energy; and Interior and Local Government have already been notified of the list of healthcare facilities.

The DOH’s actions, together with other departments, are in compliance with the President’s directive for government intervention and “whole-of-government approach” to manage and mitigate the effects of El Niño on the general population.

The DOH said it is also working with all health facilities nationwide in assessing their the El Niño preparedness and on how to further improve their strategies and plans as El Niño peaks.

Under President Marcos’ Executive Order No. 53, which directs the government to streamline, reactivate, and reconstitute the old El Niño task forces under EO No. 16 (s. 2001) and Memorandum Order No. 38 (s. 2019), Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. was appointed chairperson of the task force, with Science and Technology Secretary Renato U. Solidum designated as co-chairperson.

Signed on January 19, 2024, President Marcos’ executive order directs the task force to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan for El Niño and La Niña to provide “systematic, holistic, and results-driven interventions” to help the public cope and minimize their devastating effects.

The President also designated the following officials as task force members: Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, Secretary of Agriculture Francis Tiu Laurel Jr., Secretary of Health Herbosa, and Secretary of National Economic and Development Authority Arsenio M. Balisacan.