House sets probe into Cagayan, Isabela floods next week
Photos from the Philippine Coast Guard show some Filipinos in the municipalities of Amulung, Alcala, Lal-lo, and Gattaran in Cagayan remain trapped on their roofs. They have since been rescued.
Philippine Coast Guard/Release

House sets probe into Cagayan, Isabela floods next week

( - November 18, 2020 - 2:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Food will be conducting next Tuesday its first hearing on the massive flooding in Cagayan and Isabela largely blamed by local government officials on the release of water from the Magat Dam.

“We want to get the facts straight,” committee chairperson Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga (Quezon) told a news conference on Wednesday. “We will conduct a clear, concise and a factual briefing and hearing on this matter. Just to get to the bottom of this, to see who’s responsible.”

Enverga said that among those invited to the hearing are National Irrigation Administration officials and local government officials from Cagayan and Isabela.

The probe stems from the resolution filed by House leaders, including Speaker Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque), calling for an investigation into the deadly flooding in portions of northern Luzon, called the “worst” in memory by local government officials.

Velasco, along with House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (Leyte) and House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod party-list), want the panel to probe the circumstances surrounding the rapid inflow of water into the reservoir, as well as any non-compliance with laws, rules or regulations that may have had a contributory effect to the swelling of Cagayan River.

Aside from this, Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (BH party-list), who also filed a resolution calling for a probe on the flooding in Isabela and Cagayan, said the panel will also be looking into dam protocols set in place.

“Every time we do an investigation in Congress it’s not just about point, blame and people but to find solutions in aid of legislation as to how we could better address it,” Herrera-Dy told the same news briefing.

Sens. Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan have also called for a parallel probe in the upper chamber on the flooding in Cagayan Valley.

As of posting, 73 people have died from the onslaught of Ulysses, 24 of whom came from the Cagayan Valley region. — Xave Gregorio

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