Cagayan provincial government will study if it continues with filing charges against the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) over Magat Dam’s release water, which allegedly caused the massive flooding in the province.
In a television interview, Governor Manuel Mamba said there is really an uproar from the affected residents to go after NIA administrators.
“We will have to study this with our legal team just to effect change and for them to come up with… ang sinasabi ko kasi puwedeng hindi nila sabayan eh ‘yung paglaki ng Cagayan River. Hindi naman maliit ‘yung nare-release,” Mamba told ANC.
“Sinasabi ko nga po there should be a medium-term and long-term plans to mitigate or even prevent these things to happen and worsen. Our problem on flooding is worsening every year. Kung nasabayan lang kami ng malakas na bagyo at nagkaroon ng uprooted trees that came down with water, pati ‘yung Buntun Bridge nadali na,” he added.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives said it would investigate the severe Cagayan flooding that submerged Cagayan and Isabel during and after the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco).
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano filed House Resolution 1348, ordering the concerned committees to investigate the flooding immediately.
“As the death toll continues to rise and the extent of damage is slowly being revealed, there is an urgent need to examine the actions that were taken during, before, and after the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses,” Velasco said.
Cagayan LGU eyes filing case vs. NIA
The “gravity and unprecedented nature of the situation, the geographic propensity of the country to natural calamities and the need to prevent similar situations from occurring,” the lawmakers added.
NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya explained why Magat Dama had to open its gates and release water amid the heavy rains from Typhoon Ulysses, saying it would break and cause bigger tragedy.
“We have a lead time of six to 10 hours that we give before we release water to ensure that residents along the waterways can evacuate,” Visaya said.
However, Lawyer Terry Ridon, convenor of the infrastructure watchdog InfrawatchPH, blamed NIA for the destructive effect of Magat Dam’s water release and asked Visaya to resign.
“We have no problem with the senators’ call to probe the NIA,” Visaya said. “It is unfortunate that heavy flooding happened in the Cagayan-Isabela area. We feel pity for the misfortunes experienced by the victims,” he said.