# Flood and more flood

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Friday, January 28, 2011

THE rain fell hard again early morning yesterday, but I had to prod my son to go to school nevertheless. We each had an umbrella when we went out of the house but that was no assurance we wouldn’t get wet considering the setup in our place, with its narrow footpaths and flooded barangay road.

The rain fell even harder while we waited for a tricycle to pass by. Because of the poor drainage system in the subdivision, the roads there eventually become rivers during downpours. Fortunately, we were able to ride a tricycle that fetched two schoolgirls from a nearby house.

The water level on the road was rising, and because of this the tricycle engine conked out twice. The second time, we were already in the subdivision crossing not far from the highway. I told my son to prepare to take off his shoes and join me in wading through the brown water that was by then one-foot deep.

Then two things happened. One, another tricycle passed us by and its driver yelled to us something about classes having been called off. Two, the driver of the vehicle we were in managed to restart the engine allowing us to reach the highway.

We alighted near the nearest waiting shed where I used my cell phone to call the school. “Way klase,” was the nun’s answer to my query. Relieved, we retraced our path home. As we negotiated again the river-like road, I resolved to never again let my son to go to school in such kind of weather.

***

This logic so made me laugh I almost cried. In Mandaue, one official talked about buying fiberglass boat instead of fixing the city’s drainage system to prevent flooding. His reasoning? The problem is not with the waterways but in the volume of water that flows through them.

Nice try. But isn’t a “perfect” drainage system designed to contain the volume of water already expected to flow through a certain area, thus preventing flooding? Or isn’t flooding proof that a drainage system is problematic?

The statement of that Mandaue official was echoed by Rep. Tomas Osmeña who, in a radio interview, said that no matter how big a drainage system is, water will always overflow and flood the surrounding areas. He reiterated his proposal to build structures that will hold off water flowing to the plains.

I think the two officials are merely covering up for the inadequacies of the drainage systems in their areas and of their failure to solve the problem. Osmeña was Cebu City mayor for almost two decades but all he can boast of were piecemeal drainage projects that provided momentary relief.

I therefore laud Mayor Michael Rama for promising to use proceeds from the next installment of Filinvest’s payment for South Road Properties lots to address the drainage problem in the city. This contrasts heavily with what Osmeña did with the Filinvest money in his term. He used it in “aid of election.”

***

Pag-asa has warned that we may have what we call as a wet summer, or rainy summer, this year. This, a weatherman said, is a result of climate change. Which means there should be no letup in efforts by government officials to prepare for the worst, even if the sun will come out in the coming days.

Let us not go ningas-kogon on this one. Climate change is real and we must be adequately protected from its effects. One admonition handed to us by our ancestors that we shouldn’t forget is this: way pagbasol nga mag-una.

(khanwens@yahoo,com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 28, 2011.

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