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Velasco seeks end to typhoon death tolls

Allan Velasco
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco. File photo by VER S. NOVENO

AS the House of Representatives begins its probe on the deadly “Ulysses” floods Tuesday, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said he wants the investigation to focus more on long-term solutions to prevent devastating death tolls and economic costs of future typhoons.

Velasco said the purpose of the House probe is to establish facts that could lead to corrective actions, and not to find fault.

“We hope to hear everyone’s side and get a clearer picture of the events that transpired when Typhoon Ulysses struck and caused widespread flooding in Luzon,” Velasco said.

“The aim here is to come up with solutions and legislation, if needed, to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives and properties during typhoons,” he added.

The country was hit by three successive typhoons—Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses—from late October to early November this year.

Typhoon Ulysses brought with it extreme rainfall, causing dam operators to release waters that flooded nearby areas.

The deadliest of this was the flooding in Cagayan province where officials released water from Magat Dam as levels reached critical levels.

Last week, Velasco—together with Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin

Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano—filed House Resolution (HR) 1348 calling for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the cause of massive flooding that submerged the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The resolution was referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Food, chaired by Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga.

The panel will begin its investigation on Tuesday as it invited officials of the National Irrigation Administration and the local governments of Cagayan and Isabela.

Velasco said the congressional hearing will focus on how to better address proper protocols and preparedness even before a natural disaster strikes.

“There will be more typhoons that will come our way, and we have to become better at preparations and in handling situations that call for sound judgement to prevent deaths and loss of properties from happening,” Velasco said.

Typhoon Ulysses claimed 73 lives and caused damage and losses to infrastructure and agriculture in Luzon worth around P10 billion, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.