MANILA – With the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) under fire for the severe flooding in Isabela and Cagayan when Typhoon Ulysses swamped the provinces last week, Senator Richard Gordon said the agency should be properly supervised to avoid a repeat of the catastrophic incident.
“We cannot solve everything through legislation, all the laws are there. What is important is that NIA is properly supervised,” he said when asked how he could address the issue through legislation.
Gordon advised NIA to practice the 4Ps – Predict, Plan, Prepare and Practice like they do in the Philippine Red Cross where he is chairman and CE — to mitigate the effect of disasters and more lives and property will be saved.
“They should practice the 4Ps. In the Red Cross we have the 4Ps, you have to Predict, predict the danger, Plan what you will need. Learn it, then you have to Prepare and you Practice…When you Predict, alam mong bumabagyo, palapit na ang bagyo, dapat may protocols. Dapat pag palapit na ang bagyo, magpakawala ka na, hindi yung hihintayin mo on the last day (when a typhoon is coming, you need protocols. Once a typhoon is near, release (the water), you don’t need to wait on the last day,” he said.
The PRC head also supported the call to include dam releasing in the alerts issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, adding that in the Red Cross, they regularly monitor the water level in the different dams so they could warn residents to evacuate if they are nearing spilling level.
“Ako sa Red Cross, naka-monitor kung ano ang status ng mga dams. Halimbawa sa Tullahan River, pinag-eevacuate namin mga tao, sinasabi namin malapit ng mag-overflow (The Red Cross monitors the status of the dams. For example, the Tullahan River, we ask people to evacuate, we tell them that it is about to overflow),” he said.
The release of water from the dams reportedly worsened flooding situations in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, the Cordillera Administrative Region, and Metro Manila.
In Cagayan and Isabela, the release of water from Magat Dam, one of the biggest dams in Asia, at the height of the storm allegedly triggered massive flooding in Cagayan Valley and left at least nine dead.
Meanwhile, NIA chief Ricardo Visaya said the spillway gates of Magat Dam had to be opened amid the heavy rains from Typhoon Ulysses to prevent the dam from breaking and causing a bigger catastrophe that would have affected millions of people. (PR)