MANILA - Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano said Monday he reached his city just in time for rescue operations after the worst flooding in 4 decades submerged the area due to Typhoon Ulysses.
Soriano was reportedly in Batangas with his family for his birthday when Tuguegarao City and the rest of Cagayan province were inundated due to heavy rainfall in nearby provinces from Typhoon Ulysses.
Soriano said he left Tuguegarao on Nov. 8 for his birthday celebration, when the city was not under any storm signal.
"Ang protocol po dun kung under storm signal di po kami aalis. Sinunod ko po ang protocol ng local government code na magpaalam ka kung aalis ka and everything," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(The protocol is if the city is under a storm signal we cannot leave. I followed the protocol of the local government code that you have to ask for permission if you will leave.)
"Nung namonitor ko po na medyo tumataaas ang tubig sa Bunton Bridge, 'yun po ang pinakabarometer namin, ay nag-attempt ako umuwi ng (November) 12."
(When I saw that water was rising in Bunton bridge, our barometer, I attempted to return home on the 12th.)
Soriano said he was unable to pass through NLEX last Thursday and was able to resume his trip home early Friday.
"I left Manila nung (November) 13 ng umaga, alas-3. I reached Tuguegarao in the afternoon in time for rescue kasi 'yun na ang kasagsagan ng flooding dito sa Tuegugarao. Humihingi ako ng dispensa sa problema na 'yun," he said.
(I left Manila on Friday morning, at around 3 a.m. I reached Tuguegarao in the afternoon in time for rescue when the floodwaters were high. I apologize for this problem.)
Tuguegarao needs clean water and food after the floods inundated 90 percent of the city and affected 34,000 families or 118,000 persons, Soriano said.
The city reported one fatality, a rescuer who died of electrocution on Friday night, the mayor said. Around 15 percent of the city, including 2 hospitals, has been reenergized, he added.
"Every year naghahanda po kami ng baha pero hindi po ganito kalaki at kalawak," he said.
(Every year we prepare for floods but not in this scale.)