Alan to MMDA chair: ‘You fired wrong guy’By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday took Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino to task for the recent floods in Taguig City which the lawmaker said could have been prevented if the local pumping station did not run of out of fuel.
Cayetano took up the cudgels for Baltazar Melgar, whom Tolentino earlier relieved of his post as chief of the MMDA flood control office for his supposed failure to refuel the Taguig pumping station and another in Quezon City during the critical hours leading to the widespread flooding.
“You fired the wrong guy,” Cayetano told Tolentino in a hearing of the Senate committee on climate change which did a postmortem on the calamity that hit the capital.
The senator presented a letter Melgar sent on Aug. 2—days before the floods—to MMDA Assistant General for Finance Edenison Fainisan asking him to compel the fuel supplier to make a delivery as soon as possible in view of an impending shortage.
But Tolentino explained there was no need for Melgar to write that letter since a simple phone call to the supplier would do.
He also recalled signing purchase orders for the fuel way back in July to assure the pumping stations of a steady supply until September. “It was up to the [person in charge of the station] to call for the deliveries,” he added.
But the senator said he received information that Melgar had made such calls to the supplier, but that the delivery was made only on Aug. 8, the second day of the heavy rains.
Cayetano, a former representative of Taguig and the neighboring municipality of Pateros, said Taguig officials led by his wife, Mayor Lani Cayetano, were initially confident that the city would be spared by the floods.
“We were ready to congratulate (the concerned officials). But we weren’t informed that the pumping station had stopped running for eight hours. So you can imagine our outrage,” Cayetano said.
He said the floods damaged some P200 million worth of property in the city and cost the local government about P50 million for the evacuation and relief efforts.