NIA told to explain its opening of Bustos Dam amid high tide | Inquirer News

NIA told to explain its opening of Bustos Dam amid high tide

/ 06:55 PM August 02, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) was pressed by the Senate’s blue ribbon committee to explain its side amid allegations that the massive flooding in Bulacan was exacerbated by the unannounced release of water from Bustos Dam.

“Doon sa Bulacan, hinihiling natin na sagutin ng NIA ang mga alegasyon ni Governor [Daniel] Fernando dahil talagang masaklap ang nangyari sa Bulacan. Baha hanggang ngayon,” said Senator Francis Tolentino in a press briefing on Wednesday.

(We are asking the NIA to answer Governor Daniel Fernando’s allegations because what happened in Bulacan was really terrible. They are still flooded now.)


Tolentino also sits as the chairperson of the chamber’s blue ribbon committee.


The Senate panel on Wednesday held a public hearing seeking to investigate the alleged irregularities over NIA’s irrigation projects. In the hearing, the massive flooding in Bulacan, which was believed to be exacerbated by dam water release, was discussed.

“I want to ask the current head of NIA: Why did they not coordinate with local government units when they opened [the gates] of Bustos Dam? LGUs were shocked last Saturday. It was still high tide then, and suddenly the dam at Bustos was opened, causing floods in Calumpit, Hagonoy, up to Plaridel, Malolos, Sta. Maria — almost all of Bulacan,” said Tolentino in Filipino.

To this, NIA Acting Administrator Engineer Eduardo Guillen, responded: The protocol states that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office needs to disseminate the information regarding the dam’s spilling activities.

“Gusto ko lang i-point, Sir, hindi po ito reservoir dam. Ang Bustos Dam is a diversion dam. Talagang aapaw ito dahil wala siyang malaking reservoir,” Guillen added.

(I just want to point out, Sir, this is not a reservoir dam. The Bustos Dam is a diversion dam. It will definitely overflow because it does not have a large reservoir.)

Tolentino said the investigation into this incident will take a long time, adding that another hearing will be conducted by the committee.


In a separate press conference held Wednesday, Senator Joel Villanueva likewise expressed dismay over the persistent flooding in the country.

“It’s just so frustrating yesterday that I went around Paombong, Calumpit, Hagonoy — each and every town [that I went to], each and every barangay — I’m not talking about one or two barangays, all barangays are submerged in water,” said Villanueva.

This led the senator to question the effectiveness of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ programs.

“Sabihin mo ba effective? Meron bang sumusukat ng effectiveness of our flood control program. We’re visited by typhoons more than 20 times a year but you know just this one particular typhoon na nag-hit sa ating bansa. Dito sa bulacan alone, in my home province alone, P700 to P800M damage na and it’s still counting,” he lamented.

(Can we say it’s effective? Does anyone measure the effectiveness of our flood control program? We’re visited by typhoons more than 20 times a year but you know just this one particular typhoon that hit our country, here in Bulacan alone, in my home province alone, there’s already P700 to P800M damage, and it’s still counting.)

According to Villanueva, the government should create an integrated master plan for the country’s flood control and thoroughly ensure that the protocol on the release of water in dams is followed to address this persistent issue.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, in the same press conference, agreed with Villanueva’s recommendation.

“Gumawa na po tayo ng isang masterplan, isang pangmatagalang programa para mawala na ang salot na baha nayan,” said Zubiri.

(Let’s make a master plan, a long-term program to get rid of flooding.)


Bulacan dams release water, trigger floods

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Bulacan folk see no end to flooding

TAGS: Bulacan, dam, Flooding, Irrigation, National Irrigation Administration, NIA

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