Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano has apologized for leaving the city during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses.”
In an interview with ANC, Soriano said he “regrets” going to Manila amid the typhoon.
Soriano said he left Tuguegarao on Nov. 8 because he had a meeting in Manila on Nov. 9. Soriano said he decided to stay in the city to celebrate his birthday on the 11th with his family, who, he said, he has not seen in eight months.
“I’m very sorry for that. I really regret going to Manila that time,” Soriano said.
Soriano, however, said that he kept monitoring the situation in Tuguegarao even when he was in Manila and that he was able to return to the city during the height of the flooding.
“I tried to come back on the 12th but I was not able to pass through NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) so I waited for the water to subside and then proceeded to Tuguegarao and was in Tuguegarao on the 13th which was the height of the flooding,” he said.
“I was (there) at the height of the flooding. I tried my best to reach my area, our area,” he said.
Soriano said he wasn’t expecting the magnitude of flooding in the city as it wasn’t placed under any storm signals in the first place and that the city’s “problem areas” during typhoons were usually manageable.
“Traditionally, in the areas usually being flooded, the water doesn’t rise that much, that’s why we had a problem the night of the 13th (November) when the current was strong,” he added.
“I really regretted my leaving on November 8 had I known that it would get this much flooding. The rise of the water, we really didn’t expect, I would like to apologize for that,” he said.
Soriano said the locals who were born before him had said the floods brought by Typhoon Ulysses were the worst to hit the city since 1972.
Soriano said he will try to submit on Monday his explanation letter to the Department of Interior and Local Government regarding his supposed absence during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses.”
“I will not wait for the official communication anymore. I have prepared my explanation. As a matter of fact, I prepared it last night. Hopefully, I will be able to submit it today,” he said.
As of Nov. 13, Soriano said 34,000 families or 118,000 individuals in Tuguegarao have been affected by Typhoon “Ulysses.”
READ MORE: Mayor seeks help as residents remain trapped in ‘worst flooding’ in Tuguegarao