The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) believes there is a need to conduct an investigation and ensure accountability within the government given the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Ulysses in Cagayan Valley and other parts of Luzon.

000 8V79QL 1024x683 - CHR says probe must be conducted on ‘unprecedented flooding’ in Cagayan Valley
This handout aerial photo taken and received on November 14, 2020 from the Philippine Coast Guard shows submerged houses in Cagayan province, north of Manila, on November 14, 2020, days after Typhoon Vamco hit parts of the country bringing heavy rain and flooding. (Photo by Handout / Philippine Coast Guard / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“There is also a need to ensure accountability and conduct investigation as to whether the unprecedented flooding could have been prevented and the people sufficiently warned of its extent,” CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.

Several officials, including Vice President Leni Robredo, have backed the call to investigate dam authorities who conducted simultaneous opening of gates amidst the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses. Many people suspect that the release of dam waters from Binga, Ambuklao, Magat and Angat contributed to the massive flooding in different parts of Luzon.

The provinces of Cagayan and Isabela were almost completely submerged in water as the Cagayan River swelled due to consecutive typhoons. The flooding is even compounded by the release of water from Magat Dam during the height of typhoon Ulysses.

Because of the flooding, the CHR is worried about the livelihood of farmers and how it will impact the rest of the country.

“The devastation caused by the massive flooding brought enormous losses in crops, livestocks, and properties. It also hugely imperiled the food production, which may pose a threat to food security,” said de Guia.

This is why the CHR cited the P2.2 billion assistance given by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to the severely-affected farmers in Cagayan Valley or Region II. The aid will include rice, rice seeds, corn seeds, fertilizers, seedling trays, poultry goods, and ducks, according to DA Secretary William Dar. 

De Guia said these agricultural inputs are “essential” in helping the farmers restart with their agricultural livelihood, and this will, in turn, boost the country’s food production and revitalize the economy.

Since the flooding also claimed the properties of the farmers, the CHR is hoping that the government will also provide farmers with cash and food aid so that they will survive until the next harvest season.

“Farmers suffer compounding vulnerability due to typhoons, which mire them in cyclical debts and poverty,” said de Guia. “We expect that the aids are distributed with promptness, efficiency, and transparency to ensure that no farmer is left behind.”

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