Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: Sitio Amor flooding

SITIO Amor is home to 500 families. It is located in Barangay Sambag 1, right behind the Cebu City Sports Center grandstand. We residents there are facing a growing problem of flooding.

From the time of our grandparents, we have experienced flooding in our place, especially after a heavy downpour. At the lowest point in the area, rain water from Osmena Blvd. and as far as B. Rodriguez St. flows to our open drainage line going to a catch basin that then drains to the N. Bacalso St. sewer line.

In the last few years, our drainage line has been overflowing a lot more often due to trash being thrown upstream, thus impeding the flow of the water. Every time it overflows, our entire place gets flooded. The silver lining is that water drains away in just a few minutes.

We have done our best to work with barangay authorities to address the problem of trash throwing but this is easier said than done. We’ve had our share of political personalities who only come to our sitio during elections and promise to solve the problem. As expected, their promises are forgotten after they win.

Recently, the problem was exacerbated by the construction of an 8-storey school building by the University of Cebu (UC). For some unknown reason, our drainage line goes through the lot where this building is now standing thus blocking it. We have submitted letter of complaints to our barangay and city authorities but all we got are just hollow, empty promises.

Last Aug. 24, 2017, our worst fears were realized. The heavy rain caused the drainage line to overflow in just a few minutes and dark sewage water flooded our sitio. Since the catch basin was blocked, the water had nowhere to go so it rose. What was normally ankle-deep water became leg-deep and hip-deep, then dangerously shoulder/neck-deep. The sewage water started entering our houses, including those that are in the elevated part of the sitio.

This was unprecedented so some were not as prepared as the others. Many personal belongings and appliances were irreparably damaged. Residents in the deeper part had to be evacuated by the Bureau of Fire Protection using their rubber boat. From being a mere annoyance, this has become a life-threatening situation.

Not one barangay or city official came to our area to check up on us after that flood.

The aftermath left oursitio with sewer mud everywhere and the stench was unbearable. We have cleaned up as much as we can but we can only do so much.

Update: Recently, we had a meeting with UC officials and their contractor (Charles Yu Chiu Construction) at the Office of the Building official. The OBO had sent a survey team (at last!) to check on how the drainage was constructed and there were quite a few flaws and inconsistencies found by the survey team.

The contractor has “started” working on fixing the problems but, as usual, still at a snail’s pace. They have even started blaming the delay on the recent rains and flooding as the reason why the can’t work faster. Had they worked on this last summer they wouldn’t have to be working on this now when it’s already the storm season.

Pagtinarung tawn mo kay kami aang nag antus sa inyong kapalpakan.--Sitio Amor Homeowners
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