President Duterte has defended the release of water from dams during the recent typhoon, saying it was necessary to avoid a “catastrophe.”

In the wake of complaints by some local government units, the President explained that releasing excess water from the reservoirs would ensure the dam would not break.

MCKY2 1024x683 - Release of water in dams necessary –President

“It’s a dam. They have to release it. Otherwise, we’ll have a catastrophe. You have to release,” Duterte said during a press conference in Camarines Sur Sunday.

“Every dam in this world, pagka-puno na ‘yung tubig, nire-release talaga ‘yan. Otherwise, magkalat ‘yan ‘pag nasira, you have a — as I said, a catastrophe in your hands (Every dam in this world, when it is filled with water, it is really released. Otherwise, it will spill over. If it breaks, you have a, as I said, a catastrophe in your hands),” he said.

Duterte was reacting to reports that some local government units have expressed concern about the supposed poor coordination from dam operators on the release of water from the reservoirs. The water discharge from the dams supposedly aggravated flooding in some parts of Luzon.

Earlier, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) should have the authority to approve any release of water from dams during calamities to prevent massive flooding. Given the storm forecast by weather authorities, Año said the dam gates could release water ahead of the approaching storm.

Meanwhile, the President has blamed climate change for the latest severe weather disturbances in the country that resulted in massive floods.

Duterte noted that he has already appealed to developed nations to commit to climate action and reduce carbon emissions when he attended the virtual regional summit over the weekend.

“Ang problema ho talaga ngayon is that whether we accept it or not, itong climate change. The warm climate boils the Pacific Ocean. There’s a lot of water vapor going upstairs and accumulating so much water, the rain, then it falls down,” Duterte said during the situation briefing in Cagayan.

Duterte said he delivered a “very strong” message to the nations that are major contributors to climate change during the regional summit. Developing countries like the Philippines that contribute less to climate change, on the other hand, bear the consequences such as severe storms and floods.

“I was very strong in my language about the people who contributed a lot to the global warming. And anong ipinakita nila sa atin na tayo, Philippines, we only have a few factories running here. We do not have that kind of  — we spewed a little but not that much,” he said.

“And ‘pag ‘yung bumagsak na, talagang babagsak (When it rains, it really pours). It does not only rain of cats and dogs, it is really water pour over here,” he said.

At the recent online Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings, the President demanded “climate justice” and reminded rich nations about their “moral responsibility” to take drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. 

Duterte also called on these industrial nations to extend financial aid to developing countries so they can with the impact of the climate crisis. He pushed for increased climate financing, technology transfer, and capacity building in the region so countries like the Philippines can have a fair chance to develop and progress.

“Climate change is not just a matter of survival. It is equally a matter of justice,” he said during the 15th East Asia Summit Saturday.

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