January 5, 2012
KOKO SEEKS PROBE ON SENDONG IMPACT
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today asked the Senate to conduct a probe in aid of legislation on the factors that contributed to the huge number of casualties in human lives and the massive destruction brought about by typhoon Sendong that hit the country last month.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 671, Pimentel noted that while typhoon Sendong was officially classified by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) under Signal Number 2, it nevertheless caused extensive loss of life and damage to property.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Update Report dated 27 December 2011, the number of dead stood at 1,453, injured at 4,594, with thousands still missing, 113,336 families (719,485 persons) affected with 11,441 families (54,795 persons) still inside 56 evacuation centers, 42,325 houses damaged (12,805 totally and 29,520 partially).
Damage to infrastructure, agriculture, and school buildings was estimated to have reached P1.14 billion.
Pimentel pointed out that because of the huge number of casualties in human lives brought about by the typhoon, it is now ranked among the top five deadliest typhoons that have ever hit the Philippines although it is considered a relatively weaker typhoon compared to typhoon Frank that hit the country in 2008, and the twin typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009.
Pimentel lamented that while rescue and relief efforts were still being done, there were already news reports of finger-pointing between the local government officials of Cagayan de Oro City and the officials of national government agencies like NDRRMC, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), among others, as to where the fault or blame should be placed, given the huge death toll and massive destruction brought about by typhoon Sendong.
Pimentel wants the probe to focus on the factors that led to the "humongous number of deaths and massive destruction brought about by typhoon Sendong, particularly in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and in the Province of Negros Oriental, in order for the entire nation to learn a lesson from this tragedy, and possibly mitigate, if not prevent entirely, the loss of life and destruction of property during calamities, both natural and man-made."
Pimentel is asking the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and other appropriate Senate committees to conduct the investigation.
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