Lorenzana defends NDRRMC over alleged failure to warn Cagayan residents vs "Ulysses"
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday defended the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) over allegations that information was not properly disseminated in Cagayan Region regarding Typhoon "Ulysses."
In a press briefing in Tuguegarao City, Lorenzana said NDRRMC provided advisories on the possible effects of the typhoon.
“The NDRRMC did not fail to give alerts because I also received messages,” he said.
“The urgency they are saying, we have been very consistent in announcing the situation… You cannot charge that NDRRMC had shortcomings,” he said.
Lorenzana is also the chairman of NDRRMC.
The secretary said the people of Cagayan should have taken preemptive actions, knowing that their place is a flood-prone area.
“We don’t know how high the flood will be but they know from experience how high the water will become, that is their personal responsibility to take preemptive action,” Lorenzana said.
For his part, NDRRMC Executive Director and Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said before the typhoon arrived, they already informed different national government agencies two to three days ahead.
“We had communications through different national government agencies especially to the uniformed personnel because we noticed there is a handicap in communication,” he said.
Jalad also said a press release was made but was not reported nor published.
“We released advanced information but the media did not pick that up… The media is a great help to us,” he said.
According to posts on social media, residents from Cagayan were not informed of the incoming flood due to lack of media reports and media advisories posted online were not able to reach thousands of residents.
They also claimed media personnel from outside the region were not able to disseminate information due to quarantine restrictions.
However, Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said the media can enter the region.
“There is no need to be quarantined but we do PCR test… There were fake news saying everyone who enters needs to be quarantined but that never happened… even international media were here,” he said.
Based on the latest government data, the death toll due to Typhoon Ulysses is now 69 with the highest number coming from the Cagayan region at 24. Ella Dionisio/DMS