Marcos, Pangilinan eye probe on 'man-made' disasters

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2020 09:27 PM

Residents take shelter on the second floor of their house surrounded by floodwaters in the town of Ilagan in Isabela province on Nov. 14, 2020, 2 days after Typhoon Ulysses hit parts of the country bringing heavy rains and flooding. Bill Visaya, AFP

MANILA - Some senators on Wednesday pushed to investigate "man-made" calamities in recent weeks, saying many could have been saved from floods had a better system been put in place.

Senators Imee Marcos and Francis Pangilinan filed separate resolutions seeking to looking into the heavy flooding in Cagayan caused partly by the release of water from the Magat Dam.

"There is a need to investigate and review projects and studies... as well as implement new infrastructure concepts and technologies," Marcos said in Senate Resolution No. 573.

Pangilinan, on the other hand, urged the chamber to invite agencies who were involved in the release of water from dams.

"Merong protocol yan, at hindi lang sa ilalim ng isang ahensya," said the senator who, in the past administration, served as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization that took charge of four relevant agencies, including the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

(There is a protocol and it's not just under one agency.)

"Sa madaling sabi, kung nasunod ang mga protocol at napaghandaan nang maayos si Ulysses, maaring naiwasan sana ito," Pangilinan said.

(In other words, if the protocol was followed and we prepared adequately for Ulysses, we could have avoided this.)

NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya said his agency notified local authorities before opening the spill gates of the Magat Dam while typhoon Ulysses lashed the northern region with fierce winds and heavy rains. 

"Ready naman po kami na ano, na ipapakita namin iyong ginawa namin," he said amid a looming House probe on the flooding that trapped residents on rooftops. 

Marcos said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should also be invited to the proposed Senate investigation to explain their alleged "failure to maintain" watersheds.

The Department of Public Works and Highways also did not properly dredge the Cagayan river, she said.

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