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House sets probe of massive flooding in 2 provinces

THE House committee on agriculture and food, chaired by Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, will start looking into the possible causes of massive flooding in Cagayan and Isabela during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The congressional hearing will start on November 24, Tuesday and officials of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), PAGASA, and Local Government Units (LGUs) were already summoned.

House Resolution 1348 was filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Stephen Paduano.

The massive flooding caused the death of 29 people, destruction of properties and agricultural products amounting to billions.

“We have already communicated with the proper resource person on invitation for Tuesday next week,” Enverga told media at the Ugnayan sa Batasan forum.

While the committee wanted to start the probe this week, most of the invited guests can not make it because of the budget hearing in the Senate.

“We already set the date for Tuesday next week just to ensure everyone will be there. We can ensure everyone na hindi ito malilimutan and we will act on this as soon s possible,” Enverga said assuring the public that the issue will be addressed before the Christmas break.

Aside from Velasco’s resolution, Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera also filed a resolution asking the House to include in its investigation other conditions of the dams in the country.

Herrera said the purpose of the investigation is to find facts that could lead to corrective actions, not to find fault.

“Hindi naman ito more of ‘sinong mas may kasalanan?’ Of course part of it is that, but most of it is we have to find out paano natin maiiwasan. What are the things we need to do in Congress to ensure, in aid of legislation, na maiwasan natin ang mga bagay na ito?” Herrera added.

Herrera said that while natural disasters could not be prevented from happening, these are usually aggravated by man-made activities.

“It has been a perennial problem in the country—this is not the first time this has happened and it saddens me that we still have not come up with solutions to prevent all these from happening,” Herrera said.

Powered by heavy winds and torrential rains, Typhoon Ulysses battered parts of Metro Manila, Bicol Region, Central Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region and CALABARZON, causing power failures, extreme flooding and heavy damage to infrastructure and property, and threatened the lives and livelihood of many Filipinos.

It was reported that at the height of Ulysses, seven of Magat Dam’s gates were opened, and the discharge of water from the reservoir caused rapid and widespread flooding in the surrounding areas.

A few days after Ulysses had exited the Philippine area of responsibility, many areas of Cagayan and Isabela remained submerged, with hundreds stranded in their homes and clinging to rooftops with no access to food or water.