MANILA - Mayors want the national disaster council to authorize dams' water releases following historic flooding in Cagayan and Marikina during and after the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is composed of various agencies such as the departments of Science and Technology and Agriculture, under which are state weather bureau PAGASA and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Año said.
"Multi-agency kasi ang NDRRMC…Ibig sabihin at any time bago magkaroon ng ganyang plano o desisyon kaya niya makuha lahat ng data, sa isang presentation makakakuha tayo ng decision o strategy halimbawa 3, 4 days before," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(The NDRRMC is multi-agency...It can at any time come up with a plan or decision, in a presentation we can make a decision or strategy for example 3, 4 days prior.)
Authorizing the NDRRMC to decide on dams' water releases also makes it a "shared responsibility," Año said as he urged dam managements to release water days ahead of a storms' approach and to lower the dams' minimum level.
"Ang kinakatakot naman ng dam managers papaano kung hindi umulan. At least shared responsibility ito. We have to risk otherwise ito ang damage na magagawa," he said.
(Dam managers fear what if it doesn't rain? At least this is a shared responsibility. We have to risk it, otherwise this will be the damage.)
"We can probably sacrifice wala muna tayong kuryente ng 1 linggo pero wala namang namatay at wala namang naanod ng baha. 'Yan ang tinatawag na trade off pag multi-agency at collective ang pagatake sa isang problema."
(We can probably sacrifice a week without electricity if no one will die or get swept away by floods. That's what we call a trade off when we attack a problem as a multi-agency.)
The NIA earlier said it warned residents of Cagayan and Isabela of Magat Dam's water release two days prior to Typhoon Ulysses' landfall on Nov. 11.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said residents were warned but the volume of water that descended onto the province was "unprecedented" and the worst in 4 decades.
Isabela Governor Rodito Albano said not releasing water from the dam would have had worse consequences as Mamba said residents have called for a lawsuit against the Magat Dam management.
"Wala tayong ibang masisisi rito kundi ang bagyo, kasi 'yun ang nagdala ng volume ng ulan dito. At saka, hindi na po panahon ng sisishan dito."
(We can't blame anyone else except the typhoon because it's what brought the volume of rain. And it's not the time to blame each other.)