VP Robredo seeks probe into deadly historic flooding in Cagayan

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Posted at Nov 16 2020 09:51 AM

VP Robredo seeks probe into deadly historic flooding in Cagayan 1
Vice President Leni Robredo appears before the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives to present the proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President for Fiscal Year 2021 on September 14, 2020. Jay Ganzon, OVP

MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday authorities should look into the historic deadly flooding in Cagayan as she urged regions to "disaster-proof" their areas.

Heavy rainfall in nearby provinces and the release of water from Magat Dam caused "unprecedented" flooding in Cagayan, which killed at least 9 people, its governor Manuel Mamba earlier said.

Robredo, among the first who coordinated rescue operations for stranded residents in Cagayan, on Sunday visited the province and nearby Isabela.

Floodwaters had receded in Tuguegarao City but some areas were still submerged, she said.

The Vice President said there was "definitely an oversight" even if the flooding was a "confluence of many factors."

"It was definitely an oversight pero (but) who committed the oversight I do not have any data to say. There was definitely an oversight kasi dapat na-anticipate considering na nagkaroon tayo ng Quinta, Rolly. Were we able to estimate the amount of rainfall? That was also the question when I visited Marikina, Rodriguez and Cainta in Rizal," she told ANC's Headstart. 

(There was definitely an oversight because this should have been anticipated considering that we already had Typhoons Quinta and Rolly.)

"Ang tanong ko nga were they warned enough na there was really danger of having floods of this magnitude kasi kailangan talaga ng investigation. If we wouldn't have a formal investigation the danger that it will happen again, sooner or later, talagang nandoon."

(I asked them if they were warned enough that there was really danger of having floods of this magnitude because we need an investigation. If we wouldn't have a formal investigation the danger that it will happen again, sooner or later, is there.)

The Vice President said residents should be aware of what areas in the province might be flooded if the dam opens how many gates.

"Ako (For me) it’s very necessary to prevent it from happening again. It was a confluence of many factors, 'yung release hindi nila na-expect the effects would be this worse," she said.

(They did not expect the effect of the water release would be this worse.)

"There were several typhoons already before Ulysses and sobrang saturated na ng lupa (the soil was saturated already). The soil would have absorbed more water than it was able to during Ulysses. Mahirap 'yung sunod-sunod 'yung bagyo kasi hindi nadedetermine 'yung magiging epekto considering saturated na ang lupa."

(Getting successive storms is difficult because we cannot determine the effect considering the soil was already saturated.)

Robredo said regions should address disasters as a whole and urged them to "invest in disaster-proofing."

The Vice President cited as an example her home province Camarines Sur in Bicol region, which was recently lashed by Super Typhoon Rolly, leaving at least 19 dead.

"Yung disaster planning sa'min bawat LGU (local government unit) but they work in silos kasi magkakabit 'yung mga munisipyo...It’s not just a problem of 1 municipality," she said.

(Disaster planning in Camarines Sur is by LGUs but they work in silos because towns are interconnected.)

"Number 2 is to really invest in disaster-proofing... Halimbawa, coastal communities parati itong worst-hit. Invest in seawalls, 'yung danger zones wag na sana patayuan ng bahay."

(For example, coastal communities are always the worst-hit. Invest in seawalls and don't build houses in danger zones.)

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