Dispatch from Crame No. 974: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the massive flooding in Cagayan

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Only after #CagayanNeedsHelp trended on social media that government officials were alerted to the plight of those in Cagayan and nearby areas who were stranded in darkness during Typhoon “Ulysses” amid the worst flooding in the province in 40 years.

The severe flooding was largely blamed on dam operators releasing water volume equivalent to 2 Olympic-sized swimming pools per second and failing to adequately warn local officials and residents of the dire consequences.

Sadly, the denuded watersheds that would have helped prevent Cagayan and Isabela from getting inundated, were already saturated, coming in at the heels of Super Typhoon “Rolly”.

Yes, we need to investigate what the dam operators did, and determine what corrective measures and proper protocols, should be put in place. Apart from this, the government should be held accountable for its severely inadequate disaster preparedness and response measures, made worse by insensitive officials who are quick to deny their ineptitude even as they were caught flat-footed and uncoordinated, yet again.

As we expect the entry of 4 more typhoons before the end of the year, haven’t we had enough already of “Filipino resiliency” being offered a mere lip service? How about actual public service?

We need government officials who will act with urgency and compassion and not just do aerial inspections of devastated areas; who will prioritize bigger budgets for disaster risk reduction instead of increasing their own confidential funds; and who will advocate the role of media as crucial disseminators of information during calamities rather than shut them down for selfish personal and political ends.

We need genuine public servants. ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 974 here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_974

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