Editorial: Those missing manholes-A A +A
Saturday, July 7, 2012
IT WAS a sorry sight shown on nationwide TV reports, the one showing Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) workers clearing blocked waterways no longer visible in flooded Metro Manila streets. MMDA officials would later say a total of 661 manholes in Metro Manila are kissing, partly contributing to the flooding experienced in many areas.
MMDA is now in search of the said manholes and drainage inlets that it said have been plugged by private contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highways while asphalting major roads in Metro Manila.
One can only ask whether the current asphalting spree in Metro Cebu, notably in Cebu City, has created a similar problem here. That will be known once the next prolonged heavy rainfall occurs.
The MMDA revelation in turn raises the same question we have been asking officials of local government units in Metro Cebu: Why wasn’t the problem attended to during summer when it was easier to solve it? Or why wasn’t the de-clogging of waterways done earlier?
In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama went through the motions months ago and got the attention of the public when he started clearing some waterways of obstructions, including structures built by informal settlers along banks of creeks and esteros.
There were also talks about improving the drainage system.
The moves got derailed, however, when politicking intensified. The Cebu City Council, controlled by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), limited the ability of the mayor to spend for major drainage projects by scrimping on the annual budget.
The mayor, in turn, shifted his attention to spending that would win votes, like buying vehicles for barangays and giving cash aids to various sectors. The lack of attention given to improving the drainage system he just blamed to the budget reduction done by the city council.
Metro Cebu has been fortunate that the routes of the first few storms that hit the country at the onset of the rainy season didn’t include areas in Central Visayas. But being fortunate does not last, and the danger of storms straying near the province is always present.
Officials should learn from what is happening now in Metro Manila. The worst thing to happen is when they start acting only when the effect of prolonged rainfall is already felt.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 07, 2012.