Wipeout of several Cagayan towns seen
The recent floods that submerged many parts of Luzon were considered extreme in terms of the number of families affected and rendered homeless. Cagayan Valley specifically suffered its worst flooding in history, which caused unbearable economic pain. On Sunday, President Duterte assured the flood victims that government is working hard to “rebuild the lives of Cagayan Valley residents who were affected by the massive flooding.”
“I also urge the LGUS to actively collaborate with the task force created to lead the rehabilitation efforts because your lives including your good health, safety, and improved welfare are the government’s highest priority,” he said. The President added that the government is likewise working to prevent a repeat of such disaster, through forest protection efforts against illegal logging and mining.
May 12, 2014 news report: “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Cagayan Valley region has a high record of convictions on anti-illegal logging cases. The DENR said Cagayan Valley is known as the land of notorious Timber License Agreement. DENR Regional Director Benjamin Tumaliuan disclosed that for the last three years, Cagayan Valley has 90 recorded cases, with Nueva Vizcaya having the most number of convictions. ‘ This record is a result of a massive and heightened anti-illegal logging campaign of the agency which likewise resulted in the loss of lives among our employees while on the job,’” Tumaliuan explained.
May 5, 2015 news report: “The DENR in Cagayan Valley is filing a case against a landowner in the town of Santa Ana in Cagayan province after a natural forest was razed in the property to give way to a development project. Benjamin Tumaliuan, regional director of Denr-region II, said his team is inspecting the area in the village of Patunungan after a barangay captain in the same town reported the cutting of trees. He also confirmed that no permit to cut trees in the area was issued, especially since the area is classified as ‘natural forest,’ where tree cutting is ‘strictly prohibited’ by the law.”
November 19, 2020 Regional Development Council Report: “DENR warns possible wipeout of several municipalities in Isabela and Cagayan during flooding: The DENR Regional Executive Director Benjamin T. Tumaliuan stated that the rainfall measurement in a given time can determine the amount of water outflow, the rise of the Cagayan River at a certain level, and the barangays that will be affected by the flooding as exemplified in his study, ‘Development of Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System for Cagayan Valley.’ Tumaliuan said that if the rainfall level in Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya exceeds 50mm, inflow to Magat Dam ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 m3/sec and outflow reaches 5,000 m3/sec with no rainfall in Cagayan, 17 municipalities in Isabela will be flooded within 12 hours and Tuguegarao City within 24 hours. Likewise, in case of heavy rainfall throughout the region with more than 50mm level and the outflow of Magat Dam reaches 5,000 m3/sec, 18 municipalities will be flooded especially those below 35m above sea level in Cagayan and 45 in Isabela. Tumaliuan also said the siltation problem in Cagayan River is not only caused by deforestation but also due to economic activities such as road construction and farming. Note that the heavy siltation in said river has been causing the flood in Cagayan especially in low-lying areas. He also called for a more intensified IEC campaign on weather information, and disaster responses and mitigation and urged the region to create a model of communication channel to effect an efficient early warning, contingency planning, and quick response during natural disturbances. The system shall be composed of concerned Regional Line Agencies and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council 2.”
December 10, 2019 Businessmirror report: “An official of the DENR on Monday said the flooding in Cagayan and Isabela provinces early this month cannot be blamed on illegal logging activities. Antonio A. Abawag, DENR regional executive director in the Cagayan Valley, said based on the assessment made by the DENR which he personally led, there’s no evidence of new or freshly cut, or illegally cut trees in the area, even as piles of driftwood were seen floating along with other debris in the floodwaters in the City of Ilagan in Isabela during the flood after heavy rains brought about by the northeast monsoon.”