‘Nobody is off the hook,’ Paduano says after House probe on Cagayan, Isabela flooding
MANILA, Philippines — House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano said “nobody is off the hook” following the lower chamber’s initial probe on the flooding in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela as Typhoon Ulysses ravaged parts of the country.
Paduano made this remark Wednesday as he chided the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for being “self-serving” in their reporting and responses during the hearing.
Among those discussed during the hearing was NIA’s decision to discharge water from Magat Dam, which some local government officials believe to have contributed heavily to the flooding in Cagayan and Isabela.
“For me, napakaself-serving ‘yung deliberation kahapon with regards to agencies that were invited yesterday… Now, from the looks of it. We need to dig deeper to get more information,” Paduano said.
Asked to elaborate on this comment, Paduano said his “self-serving” remark was in reference to the way the invited government agencies reported the events that unfolded in relation to the flooding in Cagayan and Isabela.
“That’s why kahapon, I asked the OCD, ‘do you confirm the presentation of NIA’? Ang sagot ng OCD, ‘we rely on the technical and scientific findings of NIA.’ But the OCD is the one in charge to administer all disasters, not only post-disaster intervention but pre-disaster intervention,” Paduano said.
“Now, hook, line, and sinker, pwede ba ‘yun? Tanggapin na natin ‘yung report ng NIA?… Will we allow head agencies for that answer, that they only rely on NIA?” he added.
Paduano also said that the report of the agencies failed to answer questions on who is culpable for the flooding.
“Self-serving ang report nila (NIA) kasi dapat sa report na ‘yun pinakita nila na during time of Quinta and Rally before Ulysses, may problema sila noon. Bakit hindi sila nagre-release ng tubig?” Paduano said.
“They are telling us that flood control is not anymore their function. Correct, but are they not culpable if ever may flood caused by Magat Dam?” he added.
Paduano’s sentiments were backed by Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo who said that the hearing showed the “utter lack of coordination among government agencies in flood control and management policies.”
During the hearing on Tuesday, NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya insisted that Magat Dam was not the “major cause” for the flooding.
“Now, can we draw a conclusion from this matrix? Yes. Is it really Magat Dam that provides or is the major cause of the flooding in Cagayan? I don’t think so,” Visaya said.
“It’s very clear that tung contribution ng Magat Dams a flooding ng Cagayan was not really the major cause but we have to look into the other factors that could have contributed to the flooding in Cagayan,” he added.
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