NIA Central Office – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has revised the Magat Dam Protocol on Dam Discharge and Flood Warning Operation after the creation of the Dam Crisis Management Task Force dedicated to review the existing protocols and address concerns on dam management crisis following the flooding incident in Cagayan Valley during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) last year.
The House Committee on Agriculture and Food, jointly with the Special Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle has resumed inquiry on the severe and unprecedented flooding in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela last Thursday, January 28, 2021.
Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya has presented during the hearing the proposed revised protocol formed by the Dam Crisis Management Task Force chaired by Dr. Guillermo Q. Tabios III of UP Diliman Civil Engineering and National Hydraulic Research Center and Engr. C’zar M. Sulaik, NIA Deputy Administrator for Engineering and Operations Sector as Co-Chairperson. The task force is also participated by various government agencies such as National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), SN Aboitiz Power Group and concerned local government units.
Under the revised Magat Dam Protocol on Dam Discharge and Flood Warning Operation, improved coordination with PAGASA will be made on the impending typhoon’s landfall, the intensity of rainfall it will bring, and if there are other weather phenomenon or disturbance that may affect it. Warning stations will then be activated 24 hours before the preemptive release of water from the Magat Dam, coupled with a public announcement through text blast. An acknowledgement from the affected local government unit (LGU) will also be required three hours after the public announcement of the preemptive release.
Meanwhile, preemptive release will be done when the dam reaches 190 meters above sea level (masl) and when a typhoon is expected to make landfall within 3 to 4 days in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Regions 1, 2 and 3.
Concerned government agencies and stakeholders such as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), NDRRMC, DRRMC, Philippine National Police (PNP), LGUs, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Irrigators’ Associations (IAs), mainstream and local media, and the locals, will also be informed of the preemptive release at least three times.
The NDRRMC Operation Center will also be asked to issue Emergency Alert and Warning Messages aside from information dissemination through media.
Further, the National Dam Safety Committee, spearheaded by NDRRMC, is underway as an oversight body for safe dam operations and for the integrity and safety of dams in our country. NIA, along with other government agencies, is joining this committee to partake in its objectives for disaster risk reduction.
Administrator Visaya assures that corollary to NIA’s mandate to manage and maintain irrigation systems, the Agency, along with other concerned government agencies, is doing its best in disaster risk mitigation and crisis management given the recurrence of natural disasters in our country.
**For questions and/or clarifications, you may contact:
EDEN VICTORIA C. SELVA
Acting Department Manager
NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff
Landline: (02) 8921-3741