Editorial: Where’s project Redz?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


TYPHOON Glenda didn’t directly hit Cebu; its wrath was mostly felt in many Luzon areas. Even the rain it spawned didn’t cause much flooding in Cebu City and province.

But it caused inconvenience as classes were suspended and boat trips were cancelled, leaving passengers stranded.

But while Cebu was largely spared from the devastation brought by Glenda, places in or near its path weren’t as lucky. Video footage aired during late afternoon TV newscasts showed familiar scenes: wind and rain lashing, giant waves battering the shorelines and water levels in rivers and in areas with faulty waterways rising.

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Glenda wasn’t Yolanda, which devastated many areas in the Visayas, including the northern tip of Cebu. That super typhoon affected us more not only for the havoc it wrought but more so because part of Cebu wasn’t spared. It wasn’t surprising that government officials went through the motions of “preparing” to meet the challenge of the next big storm.

But even before that, the Cebu City Government already launched what seemed to be a promising effort to solve the problem of flooding, which is often spawned by typhoons.

Remember the Reduction of Danger Zones (Redz) project? Mayor Michael Rama made Redz look like a flagship project in his second term as the city’s chief executive.

During its first meeting in July last year, project Redz head Joey Daluz, a former councilor, outlined the task force’s job: “We will review and classify priorities of the different hazard areas in the city. For now, we will focus on the five main rivers which have been identified as the cause and answer to heavy floods.”

That was after some areas in the city’s 12 barangays went under water when torrential rains fell for hours.

The five main rivers that Daluz mentioned were Mahiga, Guadalupe, Bulacao, Kinalumsan and Lahug. The “hazards” included structures of an estimated 10,000 informal settlers.

The mayor and project Redz officials talked about political will in relocation efforts at that time.

One year later, project Redz is no longer heard of. Reports say the task force is no longer meeting. Yesterday, an official of the city’s disaster risk reduction office repeated the same complaint about obstructions in waterways.

Apparently, project Redz was a dud and the mayor’s vow to reduce the city’s danger zones nothing but hot air.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.

Opinion

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