Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano is being pilloried by irate constituents for his absence during the recent super-typhoon that inundated the entire Cagayan province, including several portions of the city.
Soriano drew blood when a photo showing him, his daughter and granddaughter enjoying themselves on lounging chairs in a vacation resort in Batangas was featured on social media.
During an interview on the Kapamilya network last week, Soriano said he left Tuguegarao City to celebrate his birthday with his family, but had done so before there were any serious weather disturbance warnings raised by Pagasa.
Soriano claimed he had followed protocols of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) prior to going on the brief out-of-town trip.
However, Soriano did apologize for leaving on November 8, days before the onslaught of Ulysses that had reportedly caused the worst flooding in Tuguegarao in nerly 50 years.
“Had I known that it (floodwaters) will rise this much, then I would not have gone,” he said.
Hundreds of thousands in Cagayan province, as well as neighboring Isabela, were caught flatfooted and had to flee for safety when Magat Dam was forced to release millions of liters of water into the Cagayan River (the largest in the country) to preserve its structural integrity, the result of torrential rains brought by Ulysses.
A state of calamity is currently in effect in the entire Cagayan province as officials try to mitigate the woes of residents in dozens of towns most badly affected by the biblical floods spawned by natural and man-made developments.