CITY OF MALOLOS– Governor Daniel R. Fernando called on the agencies connected to the releasing of water from the Angat, Ipo, and Bustos Dams in a meeting with dam stakeholders held at Christine’s Restaurant, Brgy. Dakila in this city recently to thoroughly study their protocols on dam release and be considerate of the people that are directly affected by their decision.
This was after 3,500 Bulakenyo families were evacuated and P17 million in damage in agriculture were reported due to the heavy rains brought by the Northeast Monsoon accompanied by dam releases that caused flooding in some Bulacan municipalities including Norzagaray, San Rafael, Calumpit, Paombong, Angat, Bustos, Pulilan, Hagonoy, Plaridel, and City of Baliwag.
“Marami ang nasirang bahay, nawala ang ari-arian, nawala ang mga gamit. Mabuti na lamang po at walang buhay na nawala dahil naagapan ng ating mga mayor at ating MDRRMOs. Although nagbibigay naman kayo ng alarma, but in my opinion and in my observation, it was not sufficient, it was not enough,” the governor said.
The governor pointed out that on January 4, the Angat Dam reached its spilling level which is 212 mts. but no release was made even though based on the forecasts of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), rains will still be heavy on that day.
“Bakit hindi pa natin inunti-unting inilabas noong 212 mts. pa lang? Bakit hinintay pa natin na umabot ng 215 mts. noong January 5 bago tayo nagpakawala? Naiintindihan ko naman na kailangang magpakawala ng tubig dahil mas maraming maaapektuhan kapag hindi nag-release. Pero pwede naman pala na pumitik-pitik na ng release nung 212 mts. pa lang. Hinintay pa natin na tumaas, saka tayo nagpakawala ng mataas na volume ng tubig,” he probed.
National Power Corporation (NPC) Department Manager Conrado G. Sison, Jr. explained that since it is a non-flood season, they have to store water so that when the dry season comes, there will be enough water to use.
“Tama po ang sinabi ni governor. Based on our protocol, kapag 212 na ang level kami po ay supposed to be ay mag-o-open na ng gates kasi nasa non-flood season po tayo. Instead of opening the gates, para ma-contain sana, we requested Angat Hydro to maximize their operation para ‘yung tubig hindi sa spillway lalabas,” he said.
Sison also vowed to continuously coordinate with other agencies including the National Water Resources Board, PAGASA, National Irrigation Administration, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to address the issue. Meanwhile, on behalf of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers of the affected municipalities, Bustos LDRRMO Paul Santos raised their concerns and suggestions including a research or feasibility study for the impounding of excess water from the dams; revisiting the existing protocol on the release of water; looking for other sources of water for Metro Manila; and revisiting the relocation program of the Provincial Government to prevent people on residing on the riverside.