House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco revealed Monday that the House of Representatives will conduct a congressional inquiry into the cause of massive flood that resulted in death and huge losses in property and agriculture products in Cagayan and Isabela as a result of the rains brought by typhoon “Ulysses.”
Together with Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, Velasco filed House Resolution No. 1348 directing the appropriate committee to immediately conduct the investigation.
Earlier, Infrawatch PH convenor and former Kabataan partylist Rep. Terry Ridon urged Congress to investigate operators of dams that discharged water during the onslaught of the typhoon, saying that what they could be guilty of “criminal incompetence.”
“As the death toll continues to rise, and the extent of damage is slowly being revealed, there is an urgent need to examine the actions that were taken during, before and after the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses,” Velasco said.
Authors of HR 1348 cited the “gravity and unprecedented nature of the situation, the geographic propensity of the country to natural calamities, and the need to prevent similar situations from occurring.”
The probe will dig into 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 the Cagayan River.
They also want the chamber to look into the decision of the National Irrigation Administration to open the spillway gates of Magat Dam, and if such action was done in accordance with duly established guidelines and protocols.
Given the circumstances and the predicted Category 4 strength of the typhoon, the House leaders said the forecast should have prompted concerned government agencies and local government units to take necessary preemptive action to mitigate possible adverse effects on local communities.