Clock ticking for Cebu City-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
THEY were not exaggerating. In the many years that they have been living there, residents of the coastal areas in Poblacion, Talisay swear, they have not seen waves half the height of a mature coconut tree–until 9 o’clock Sunday evening. Fortunately, no one was hurt; about 200 houses were, however, damaged.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring island of Negros, 12 hours of heavy rain caused the two largest rivers in Bayawan City to overflow. Landslides were also reported in several areas. Residents, numbering about 5,000, were quickly evacuated to safer grounds.
The two incidents were either reported on radio and in the newspapers yesterday. So why am I repeating them?
Because those who do not learn from the experience of others will inevitably learn their lesson the hard and painful way. Imagine if we have 12 continuous hours of torrential rain in Cebu City. Where will the waters go before they finally reach the sea? What will they bring along the way?
We have no big rivers. The one that runs from Guadalupe is hopelessly clogged. The smaller waterways are in worse shape; people have built structures over them.
City Hall says it has plans for a decent flood control system but it doesn’t have the funds. In the meantime, it is undertaking stop-gap measures such as recovering the esteros and creeks from illegal occupants but even that is difficult because of the latter’s dogged resistance and the encouragement coming from politicians.
Yesterday, Sun.Star Cebu reported that around 60 families who live on the banks of the Mahiga Creek are ready to dialog with City Hall representatives. This is a welcome development. The city should assure the informal settlers that the latter will not be thrown into the streets, there to fend for themselves. If a relocation site has been chosen, City Hall should show it to them.
But I hope that the talk will not last long. The 15-day period that the city government gave the settlers to relocate has already expired. If a deadlock in the talks ensues, the city has no choice but to evict them.
That should send a strong message to the others who have appropriated waterways for their own. They include big businesses whose structures stand on top of canals and creeks.
In fact, the owners of these structures can do better by demolishing their illegal structures on their own. That will give meaning to Mayor Michael Rama’s mantra that “together we can make things happen.”
In any case, regardless of how we do it, recovering the waterways has to happen now.
The clock is ticking. We can’t afford to wait for 12 hours of continuous heavy rains.
I was not able to watch the deciding Game 5 of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) championship series between the Southwestern University Cobras and the University of the Visayas Green Lancers so I did not see it happen. But I was amused to read in the Bzzzz section of this paper that Cobras coach Yayoy Alcoseba rolled on the floor at one point during the game to protest a call.
That’s Yayoy and that’s gamesmanship for you. On the court, he is very intense and will not stop at anything if it is going to give his squad the needed push or even the slightest advantage. Outside of it, he’s composed.
Thus, two days after the game, Yayoy was graciously saying that UV was the hungrier team and deserved the championship. On the other hand, I still have to hear the new champions thanking Southwestern University for making it a great series and their victory a lot sweeter. What about it, Coach Dondon?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 08, 2013.