Probe on for Oro, Iligan flooding-A A +A
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Weather and environment experts will investigate at least three dams in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro that caused flash floods that swept away entire villages and left close to 1,500 dead on December 16.
The three dams were owned by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Baungon, Bukidnon; Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. located in the boundary of Libona and Baungon in Bukidnon; and Rio Verde in Taguanao, Cagayan de Oro City.
Rene Paciente, assistant weather services chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or Pagasa’s Meteorological Services Section, said President Benigno Aquino III created the committee that is tasked to investigate the cause of the flash floods that killed more than 800 and left more than 400 missing in Cagayan de Oro alone.
“The fact-finding committee will investigate kung bakit nagka-flash floods samantalang hindi naman malakas ang ulan nung panahon na ‘yon (why there were flash floods when it wasn’t raining hard during that time),” Paciente told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
It was earlier reported that the flash floods occurred after the three dams were allegedly damaged, causing sudden release of water.
However, Cagayan de Oro Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas and Councilor Alvin Calingin dismissed the report, citing that NIA “is just an irrigation.”
Councilor Edgar Cabanlas lauded the creation of the committee, which will be composed of officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Pagasa and some concerned government agencies.
“It is important that these dams will be investigated and for us to know also the position of the dams because if this is true, then we in Cagayan de Oro are in continuous danger,” Cabanlas said.
He said those responsible should be held liable for homicide or murder and damages.
The Office of Civil Defense's latest tally listed 891 dead in Cagayan de Oro and an additional 451 in nearby Iligan city. The rest came from several other provinces. Most of the dead are unidentified.
Civil Defense head Benito Ramos said decomposing remains were retrieved floating in the sea as far as 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the two cities where a December 16 tropical storm unleashed more than a month's worth of rainfall in 12 hours, sending walls of water gushing into homes.
It was not clear how many more are missing.
Earlier, Aquino ordered the creation of a task force to investigate illegal logging and mining activities in Northern Mindanao, which are also mulled as one of the culprits behind the massive flash floods in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is also conducting a separate investigation but on the disaster response of the local government units.
The DILG probe is to determine how the existing system can be improved by the local government’s disaster preparedness and response.
Meanwhile, Malacañang reminded the public to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions as another low pressure area has entered Mindanao.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said National Disaster Reduction and Management Council executive director Benito Ramos already specified the list of areas likely to be hit by the storm including the regions of Northern Mindanao, Davao, Caraga, and Soccsksargen. (Annabelle L. Ricalde/Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Jill Beltran)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 28, 2011.