Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday she supports any investigation on dam authorities concerning the simultaneous opening of gates amid the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, which allegedly caused the massive flooding in Luzon.
“An investigation is very necessary to prevent it from happening again,” said Robredo in an ANC interview.
Robredo said local officials told her the dam officials did not inform them of the areas affected by the release of water.
Binga, Ambuklao, Magat, and Angat opened their gates to release water amid heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ulysses on November 12.
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has been releasing water from Magat Dam since Nov. 9, even before the landfall of Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco). The dam opened seven gates at one point on November 12 and released water volume equivalent to 106.223 Olympic-sized swimming pools, or around two swimming pools per second.
“Kailangan merong estimate. Halimbawa, kung pitong gates ng dam ang nakabukas, ano iyong mga lugar na maapektuhan?” Robredo said.
Robredo noted that areas in Cagayan that do not normally experience floods were severely affected by the flooding after Ulysses’ onslaught.
Robredo supports probe on simultaneous dam water releases during Ulysses
The Vice Preside agreed that the lack, if not a failure of information dissemination on the impact of the dams’ opening, is a criminal oversight as earlier mentioned by Infrawatch convenor Terry Ridon.
“Definitely, it was an oversight, but as to who committed what, I don’t know yet,” she said.
“That is why we need an investigation kasi dapat na-anticipate itong epekto ng baha dahil nagdaan na iyong bagyong Quinta at Rolly. Saturated na ang lupa,” Robredo added.
However, NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya said the dam would break and cause bigger tragedy if waters were not released.
“Ang laki ng ating reservoir ng Magat [Dam] is about 4,800 hectares. ‘Pag ito ang na-break, lumampas sa spilling level na 193 meters above mean sea level, mag-spill po ‘yan. Masisira po ‘yan at milyon-milyon po na tao ang maaapektuhan,” Visaya said in an interview on GMA’s Unang Hirit.
Meanwhile, Mark Timbal, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson, claimed that the Cagayan Valley widespread flooding was due to the Cagayan River’s swelling and not because of Magat Dam’s water.