SEVEN YEARS AFTER PEPENG: Suits vs SRPC, NPC not yet resolved
ROSALES – Seven years after typhoon Pepeng caused the San Roque Dam to release big volumes of water, the cases filed against the dam’s operators have not been resolved yet.
Recall that in October 9, 2009, when the dam’s elevation was at 289.05, all six gates (total of 27 meters) of San Roque dam were simultaneously opened, spilling our 5,072 cubic meters of of water pers second. The release of water at different rates was continued until October 12 that year.
The sudden water release inundated two thirds of Pangasinan, causing massive destruction to properties and agriculture, and forcing two private businesses to file damage suit against SRPC and NPC.
Goldon Agritec Products, Inc., a fertilizer company based in Carmen village along the Agno River in this town, filed at the Regional Trial Court here against the two companies for P12.9 million for destroyed fertilizers.
Mentioned as defendants are NPC President and CEO Froilan A. Tampinco, SRPC President and CEO Ryukichi Kawaguchi and/or Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility Tommy Valdez and Alex Palada, flood operation manager of the NPC.
The other case was filed by rice miller Tranquilino Tan, , who claimed to have lost P6.6 million worth of rice and palay, and P4.4 million worth of damages to the rice mill, warehouse, vehicles and equipment. Tan who has hence died, is represented by his son Roger, also named Tampinco, Kawaguchi, Valdez and Palada as defendants.
The Tans own the Anson Rice Mill in Carmen East of this town, along the Agno River whose dikes collapsed because of raging water from the dam.
Seven years after the massive flood, the case filed by Goldon is still on its preliminary stage, said So whose family owns Goldon Corporation. Tan’s case is still to move, as the court questioned why Roger was the one appearing in court when it was his father who filed the case.
“The court works so slowly. But while the cases are still in the court, there is still hope that it would be resolved, and resolved in our favor,” he said.
So likewise questioned the two companies’ decision to stop releasing water from the San Roque multi-purpose dam in San Manuel.
As of five am of Tuesday , the dam’s water elevation is 286.35 meters above sea level (masl), more than six meters above the spilling level of 280 masl.
Rosendo So, president of the Samahang Industriya ng Magsasaka, said the protocol is for the dam to open its gates when water elevation reaches 280 masl. This is as published in the website of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration Power.
His family owns the Goldon Agritech Products Inc. which filed a P12 million damage suit against SRPC and NPC because of the massive floods caused by dam’s sudden release of water in 2009.
“Why should they put the normal level if they won’t release water even when the water has reached 286 masl?” So said.
Virgilio Garcia, NPC hydrologist, said to reduce water, the SRPC is on a “must-run” or producing water at maximum level, releasing 277 cms of water through its power turbines.
He said water would be wasted if released through the spillway, so “we might as well use the extra water to produce power.”
At maximum level, SRPC produces 435 megawatts.
But So, also the chair of the Abono partylist group, said the partylist would ask Congress to ask the two companies why they closed the gates when water was still 285.95 masl.
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