House of Representatives to investigate cause of Ulysses floods

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2020 07:43 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2020 09:56 PM

House of Representatives to investigate cause of Ulysses floods 1
Aerial photo shows the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses along Camarines Sur. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conducted aerial inspections of severely affected areas in Cagayan Valley and Bicol Region on November 15, 2020. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo

MANILA (UPDATE) - The House of Representatives will conduct a probe on the flooding that happened in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses that hit Luzon island last week.

On Monday, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano filed House Resolution No. 1348, which directs the appropriate committee to investigate the cause of the massive flooding.

“As the death toll continues to rise, and the extent of damage is slowly being revealed, there is an urgent need to examine the actions that were taken during, before and after the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses,” Velasco said in a statement.

The House leaders cited the “gravity and unprecedented nature of the situation, the geographic propensity of the country to natural calamities, and the need to prevent similar situations from occurring" in calling for an inquiry.

They wanted lawmakers to look into the "circumstances surrounding the rapid inflow of water into the reservoir, as well as any non-compliance with laws, rules or regulations that may have had a contributory effect to the swelling of Cagayan River."

They want to probe as well the decision of the National Irrigation Administration to open the spillway gates of Magat Dam, which is located in Isabela, and whether guidelines and protocols were followed.

As of Sunday, the number of people who died from Typhoon Ulysses (International name: Vamco) has climbed to 67 while 12 remain missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Twenty-two persons were reported dead in Cagayan Valley, 2 in Central Luzon, 17 in Calabarzon, 8 in Bicol, 10 in the Cordilleras, and 8 in Metro Manila, Mark Timbal, spokesman of NDRRMC, told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

Some 1.1 million persons or 285,978 families were affected, of whom, nearly 370,000 individuals were forced to flee their homes for safety even as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, the NDRRMC said in its report released 5 p.m. Saturday.

Ulysses also left in its wake some P1.19 billion worth of agricultural damage and P469.7 million worth of infrastructure damage, according to Timbal.

The 21st tropical cyclone to enter the country this year brought fierce winds and torrential rains in Luzon from Wednesday night until Thursday last week, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake just as the island reeled from earlier storms, including Super Typhoon Rolly.

Ulysses left the Philippine area of responsibility on Friday morning after causing the worst flooding in years in parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila.

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- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News