Typhoon tail

Last week, the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) published a report on the weather services. It raises interesting questions that go beyond the specific conclusions reached therein.
The first notable aspect is that the report concerns both the events associated with Typhoon Nida (August 1, 2016) and Typhoon Hato (August 23, 2017). The nature of both enquiries and their conclusions are similar, so they were conflated into a single report.
The preliminary question we might ask is: if it was possible to investigate and report on the issues raised by Hato in two months, why did it take 14 months to report on similar questions posed by Nida? If there were intrinsic failures of procedure or technical judgment that could put our collective security in jeopardy, why didn’t the Nida findings see the light earlier, presumably avoiding subsequent troubles? Isn’t the delay in publishing the conclusions a neglect that should also be addressed?
There were two critical things this report was set to determine. One was a technical one: did the services fail in their technical assessments and decisions? The other was a political one: did external pressures or considerations influence the timing of the typhoon signal changes, in ways designed to benefit some at the expense of the broader community?
CCAC states it found no evidence that could support those suspicions and, therefore exonerates the services on both counts. It should have stopped at that point. However, those critical conclusions are mostly lost in the report. While recognising it is not competent on meteorological matters, it occupies most of the report discussing (and pillorying) the internal procedures and management style in a sharp (and preferably avoided) ad hominem tone.
Management procedures and style were only relevant for the report insofar as they might affect the technical quality and timeliness of the decisions. If no evidence of the latter was found and a connection could not be established, they are immaterial; they do not fit within the scope of the CCAC enquiry. Furthermore, the CCAC recognises it lacks the competence to judge on the technical matters at stake. How can it then presume to rule on the adequacy or otherwise of the related internal procedures?
In the end, the main concerns - those about the breakdown of the civil protection services, of which the weather services are but a part - remain unanswered. Unfortunately, silence on those issues dents our trust in the fairness of the conclusions and weakens the corruption watchdog’s standing.