Chiz: No excuse for reckless decisions of dam operators

Opposition Senator Chiz Escudero said on Saturday there is no excuse for reckless decisions when lives are at stake. Escudero said the admission of the National Power Corporation that its guidelines were outdated shouldn’t automatically excuse them from any possible prosecution.

“I am more determined than ever to assist the victims in filing a class suit against the operators of dams. Their greed was more devastating than the rains brought about by Pepeng and Ondoy,” he said.

Escudero added that Napocor has drowned the residents of Pangasinan yet again in Friday’s hearing after their executives commended their dam operators for following a protocol which killed at least 20 people after billions of liters of water of the San Roque dam were released into the towns.

”How can you applaud a judgment when the end result was loss of lives and property? Have they seen the destruction the massive floods brought to the towns of Rosales, San Nicolas, Tayug, Asingan and Villasis? This poor decision brought the provincial and local governments to their knees,” he asserted.

Escudero maintained that if the engineers or any of the officials decided to start discharge water at 240,250, or at most 260 meters above sea level (masl), then the dikes could have withstood the brunt of raging waters and avoided overflowing the Agno river.

He also hit the dam operators for blaming every government official in Senator Loren Legarda’s Senate hearing. He said that aside from the Department of Public Works and Highway, they also pinned the fault of their decisions to PAGASA. Napocor President Froilan Tampinco was quoted as saying that they relied on PAGASA for calculating the amount of rainfall.

“Their incapability to make important decisions can only be evident in the destruction which we are now seeing. PAGASA’s job is to forecast. Napocor’s officers waited long before they realized that the dam may overspill,” he added.

Escudero hopes this will not be replicated in the strong typhoon that is expected to hit the whole country in the coming week. He said that people are still reeling from the two typhoons. “I authored a bill which would appropriate P12 billion into the Calamity Fund. Help will soon be on its way,” he said.#