Cagayan archbishop calls for dialogue, action to curtail flood disaster

Cagayan archbishop calls for dialogue, action to curtail flood disaster

An aerial photo of some villages in the province of Cagayan in the northern Philippines shows the aftermath of typhoon “Ulysses.” ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

By Roy Lagarde

November 24, 2020

Tuguegarao City

A Catholic official has called for collective efforts to address flooding in Cagayan province, rooting for dialogue to resolve the issues.

Archbishop Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao said there may be several factors that bring severe flood and suffering to the province “but these call for action”.

“Something should be done and the approach that we are going to use is dialogue,” Baccay said.

“Maybe there are so many factors that brought this massive flooding but we are willing to sit down and see how we can solve this together,” he said.

The Church has always opened its doors for dialogue, but that is not enough, the archbishop said, adding: “It has to show intentions in actions”.

“We can’t allow flooding to happen over and over again and not do anything about it,” Baccay said.

Several parts of Luzon were devastated when Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) struck the country from Nov. 11 to 12.

The typhoon affected 3.67 million people, displacing over 277,000 and killing at least 73.

Although the flooding has subsided, many in the affected areas continue to struggle, with more than 67,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged.

Cagayan is one of the areas hit the hardest, in what local officials described as the “worst flooding” in the region in decades.

Nagging questions are again being raised as to why the province frequently experiences intense flooding.

The archbishop said their priority is to help the affected people recover “after being left unsheltered and hungry”.

“And we would like to see what could be done so that this will not be repeated in the future,” he said.

Baccay also met with a team from Caritas Philippines who visited the province last week for a rapid assessment of the typhoon’s impact.

Led by its national director Fr. Antonio Labiao, the church’s humanitarian arm also assessed the situation in the nearby dioceses of Ilagan, Bayombong and San Jose.

Caritas said it will have another quick response worth P33 million for areas affected by the flooding.

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