Senate holds public hearing on October flood

December 2, 2009 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

PhotobucketThe Senate Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Senator Loren Legarda, held a public hearing in Barangay San Roque, San Manuel, Pangasinan in a spot overlooking the spillway of the mammoth San Roque Multi-purpose Dam last November 25.

Attended by Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr., Vice Governor Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Congressman Mark Cojuangco, various local chief executives, officials of San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) and the Napocor, representatives of different government agencies and non-government organizations, the hearing specifically sought what transpired during the massive flooding in the province at the height of Typhoon Pepeng.

Espino posed only few but striking questions for the panel, that is: to know if somebody already admitted any wrongdoing in releasing the unprecedented volume of water from the dam; and in case the SRPC and the Napocor were found out to be at fault, will they be willing to at least pay something to the victims of the flood.

The Napocor people replied that as of now, somebody has yet to admit of any wrongdoing with respect to the protocol, which they said is subject of an investigation by the Department of Energy. They also said that it will depend on the Napocor’s management to address the issue of compensation for damages.

Senior Vice President of SRPC William Connel’s statement that since the beginning of the dam’s commercial operation in 2003, they had followed dispatch instructions from the national government and had never released waters without its instruction, earned the ire of both the governor and the congressman.

They expressed similar views against SRPC officials’ pronouncements that they “have absolutely no liabilities and wash their hands just like that” since they are supposed to be dam experts and should have advised the Napocor for the preemptive release of water which could have prevented the disaster.

Espino emphatically said that the investigation is “back to square one” since he attended the Senate hearings on the issue.

“Until now, I think this is the same question here, everybody pointing at each other who is at fault, everybody absolving oneself from any liability,” he stressed.

The governor also said that even if warning systems were modified, it will be an exercise in futility since they do not include the impact and implications of such release downstream.

“Kahit po sabihin nila na magrerelease kung hindi naman po sinabi kung gaano kalaki ang dadating na tubig, wala rin pong silbi yan. Kahit na po bigyan natin sila ng dalawang araw, di naman nila maililipat ang kanilang mga bahay at ari-arian,” he said.

“Hindi na po tayo kailangang humanap pa ng mga teknikalidad. Sabihin na lang natin kung ano ang totoong nangyari para hindi na maulit ang ganitong pagbaha,” he said. (PIO/Rafael Manuel)


Entry filed under: News.

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