A lawmaker from the National Unity Party (NUP) has proposed a law establishing a National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) that will control, manage and operate all dams in the country to ensure that these structures remain safe and operate efficiently while preventing destruction to lives and property.
Rep. Maria Victoria Sy-Alvarado (3rd district, Bulacan), said her proposal, outlined under House Bill 2742, tasks the NDSA to formulate a “comprehensive and holistic” national dam safety plan, which will include provisions on early warning systems, consultations and coordination with all concerned agencies, including the local government units and the private sector.
The measure gives the NDSA exclusive power to control, manage and operate all dams in the country in coordination with proper agencies.
Sy-Alvarado’s proposal is timely given the onset of the typhoon season and the heavy rainfall that sometimes lead to overspilling in dams.
Under HB 2742, the NDSA should hold mandatory consultations in times of calamities, typhoons and other disasters with all stakeholders and concerned agencies on the status of dams, including water levels and other information that are relevant to ensure the safety of the people, Sy-Alvarado said.
“It shall also conduct massive public information on their actions during emergency situations including issuance of early warning devices,” she added.
Sy-Alvarado’s home province of Bulacan sits near the Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams. Last August 19, continuous heavy rains immersed almost half of the province with the release of water from the Ipo and Bustos dams aggravating the flash floods.
“Our proposed law is a pre-emptive and pro-active move to prevent recurrence of the problems our country experienced in the past," Sy-Alvarado noted.