Isabela solon appeals for assistance for province, other Ulysses-hit areas

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2020 07:30 PM

A resident paddles a wooden boat around houses surrounded by floodwaters in the town of Ilagan in Isabela province on November 14, 2020, two days after Typhoon Ulysses hit parts of the country bringing heavy rains and flooding. Bill Visaya, AFP

MANILA - Lawmaker Faustino "Inno" Dy V of Isabela took to the floor of the House of Representatives Monday to appeal to the chamber for additional assistance for his home province and urge his colleagues to look at long-term solutions to prevent widespread damage caused by typhoons that regularly hit the country.

In a privileged speech, the Isabela 6th District Representative said that as he and his fellow lawmakers from the province conducted relief operations over the weekend following heavy flooding there due to Typhoon Ulysses, “it became clear to us that our province, and all the provinces affected by Typhoon Ulysses, need all the assistance they can get.”

Dy shared that he had originally intended not to attend the reopening of congressional sessions “as I believe that my place is back home with my constituents––my provincemates, my fellow Isabelinos––who are, at this very moment, dealing with the trauma inflicted by Typhoon Ulysses.”

However, the young lawmaker said he decided to address the House “to speak on behalf of my fellow Isabela lawmakers, to speak on behalf of the people of Isabela––to appeal to your kindness and to humbly plead for your help.”

“The numbers speak volumes of the scale of this latest national tragedy. In a briefing Sunday morning, the NDRRMC reported the heavy toll Typhoon Ulysses has exacted on our country: (67) lives lost; over one million Filipinos affected; 25,852 houses damaged; agricultural costs estimated at 1.19 billion pesos; and infrastructure damage estimated at close to half a billion pesos,” said Dy.

“In Isabela alone, close to 55,000 families from 322 barangays were affected by Typhoon Ulysses. All in all, the lives of 142,241 Isabelinos were forever changed when this storm hit our province.”

Dy added that Isabela legislators were concerned with the impact of the storm on the agriculture sector in the province, considered one of the country’s major food baskets. Isabela is the top producer of corn in the country, and produces the second-most volume of rice nationwide.

The legislator said that according to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, the value of rice losses in Isabela amounted to P13.28 million, while the total value of corn losses amounted to P30.57 million.

“The total damage to the sector in Isabela alone is a staggering P136.97 million, and its impact is magnified by the fact that agriculture is the single biggest industry in Isabela. Dito po umaasa ang libu-libong magsasaka,” Dy said.

He emphasized that aside from immediate aid, legislators from Isabela were appealing to the leadership of the House “to consider the needs of Isabela and other hard-hit provinces as (Congress) hammers out the final provisions of the 2021 General Appropriations Act.”

“We hope allocations can be earmarked so that we will be able to help our kababayan in the North rebuild, recover, and rebound from the damage caused by Typhoon Ulysses.”

Dy also urged his colleagues to focus on long-term, science-based solutions to natural calamities.

“For the past several months, we have been repeatedly urged to listen to the science with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same approach must be adopted relative to our environment and to climate change," he said.

"Let us listen to what our scientists and environmentalists have been telling us for decades, because it is clear that they were right all along."

Dy said scientists have warned that “climate change would lead to the most powerful typhoons in living memory, and in the past decade we have been battered by Ondoy, Yolanda, Rolly, and now Ulysses."

"Scientists have also cautioned us and told us to preserve our forest cover in order to prevent runoffs that lead to severe flooding; the tragic results of the last two typhoons speak for themselves,” he said.

“The times call for us to act; to act and help our countrymen now dealing with the fallout of Typhoon Ulysses and Typhoon Rolly––to act and prevent future generations from seeing the same agonizing images we have seen; to act and save them from the same pain millions of Filipinos have felt in the wake of typhoons like Ulysses.”

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