May 22, 2024 (3:14 PM)

4 min read

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Residents in Davao City shield themselves from the scorching sun as temperatures hit record highs at Roxas Avenue, with heat indices reaching dangerous levels across the Philippines.

Photo by Althea Befetil

With the rising summer heat in the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) revealed that 38 areas in the Philippines registered a ‘dangerous’ heat index as of April 27, 2024.

The heat index refers to how hot the temperature is, and some areas of the country have already reached the dangerous temperature level, ranging between 42 and 51 degrees Celsius. 

According to PAGASA, areas with the highest heat index recorded include Dagupan City, Bacnotan, Aparri, Tuguegarao City, Laoag City, Iba, Clark Airport (DMIA), Ambulong, Coron, Puerto Princesa City, Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, and Davao City, among others.

With the inclusion of Davao City as one of the cities with the highest recorded heat index of 42°C, Dabawenyos are noticing the effects of the intense heat.

Buko Juice Vendor Wilven Suan shared with Atenews that many workers have been affected and compelled to shift their work hours to the afternoon instead of an earlier time due to the oppressive heat.

“Karon, mu-gawas na lang ko ug hapon, tungod kay karon mu-tungtong sya ug alas onse-alas dose, grabe na ka init, dili na kanang ma initan gud ka, murag mu bati na imong lawas ba nga maluya ka ba.”

Sharing the same experience, tricycle driver Dennis Quarteros said that very few passengers are going out because of the heat, which affects his income.

Suan and Quarteros also noticed changes in their areas’ water systems, as there was a gradual decrease in water flow from morning until afternoon. 

“Sa karon, sa akong na-obserbahan, ang tubig, una una, tungod sa sa ka init, murag mi minus ang source sa tubig, kay tungod sa ka init sa panahon mao nang naay time nga matingala ka nga hapon na hinay gihapon ang agas,” Suan said.

Suan also believes that the state of the planet is worsening primarily due to chemical pollution and the actions taken by the government solely to generate profit.

“Number 1, sige sila’g pamutol ug kahoy, once gani ka mag putol ka’g kahoy, naa pud kay itanom ug balik, kay number one man gud to nga maka daot sa atong ecosystem kay sa akoa lang nagka gamay ang kuan sa oxygen, tas nagka dako ang carbon dioxide.”

Schools nationwide have also taken precautionary measures to avoid possible health issues such as dehydration and heat stroke by suspending face-to-face classes, shifting learning modalities, and pushing universities to enable students to wear comfortable clothes.

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) student Althea Limpao shared with Atenews how the intensifying heat made her feel strained and exhausted when in school.

“Imagine, I have to travel from Monday to Friday for about an hour and 30 minutes under this heat while I’m wearing a fully-tight covered snow-white uniform. It is mentally and emotionally draining me even though ‘di pa ako nakarating ng school.”

Limpao added that exposure to heat while taking public transportation to school and staying in an airconditioned classroom resulted in migraines and fevers at night.

Another AdDU student, Jhayla Mae Bernadette Cero, suggested that easing the university’s existing uniform policy may help mitigate the effects of the rising heat.

“Simply lifting the uniform policy might not suffice, especially if we students are required to wear clothing that adds to our discomfort in the heat. The heat can be quite intense, and wearing cooler and more comfortable attire could at least alleviate some of our sufferings.”

She added that easing the dress code, such as permitting shorts within a specific length for both genders and limited styles of sleeveless clothing, could be beneficial to ensure comfort while maintaining a professional appearance for the students.

Hottest days are still expected to come in May, with temperatures possibly peaking, according to PAGASA. Weather specialist Dr. John Manalo explained to GMA Integrated News on April 17 that relative humidity tends to increase during May.

“Because we are heading towards the rainy season, the moisture content in the air also increases compared to April and March, which are also dry.”

The weather service further recommended the public to reduce outdoor activities, stay well-hydrated, and plan daily tasks for cooler periods, particularly later in the day, to prevent potential complications from the effects of extreme heat.



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