Lax enforcement of rules blamed for Sunday’s flood

NOWHERE TO GO. Even though water in the Mahiga Creek had subsided, garbage still covered the waterway as of noon last Monday, June 24, 2019. (SunStar photo / Allan Cuizon)

IT’S time for Cebu City to strictly enforce the three-meter easement rule and the ban on the throwing of garbage in non-designated areas, especially in culverts.

The Mandaue City Government said its counterpart in Cebu City should do its part to prevent a repeat of the flooding that inundated parts of both cities last Sunday, June 23, 2019.

A downpour that lasted less than an hour caused the water level at the Mahiga Creek, which serves as the boundary between the two cities, to go up. The garbage that was carried by the rainwater was prevented from going downstream by the Subangdaku bridge and ended up flowing into Lopez Jaena St. in Mandaue City.

When SunStar Cebu checked the situation at noon on Monday, June 24, garbage still covered the creek even though the water had subsided.

Outgoing Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna ordered the Department of Public Services (DPS) to help haul the garbage out, while members of Barangay Subangdaku’s clean and green team cleared the streets of litter, most of which were disposable plastic containers.

Fortuna reminded the Cebu City Government to ensure that establishments along the waterway on its side observed the three-meter easement rule.

“The bank of the Mahiga Creek in Mandaue City has already been cleared of informal settlers. We believe the source of the flood and the source of the garbage could be coming from Cebu City because the outfall of the creek is shared by both cities. That is why we would also like to call the attention of barangay officials along that area to conduct constant monitoring. In the end, the water flows to Mandaue,” he said in Cebuano.

He said they have a standing agreement with the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCenro) and Cebu City’s DPS to monitor waste that is not only thrown into the creek but also dumped in canals or culverts, which is washed down into the creek when it rains.

Meanwhile, CCenro announced it would intensify the program to educate people who live along the city’s waterways or near the three-meter easement on proper waste disposal.

Glory Manatad, a CCenro environmental management specialist, said the education campaign includes teaching people about ordinances that cover the environment, proper waste disposal, as well as what will possibly happen if they continue to throw their garbage in the waterways.

The problem was highlighted when the Mahiga Creek overflowed last Sunday afternoon, spilling garbage into the streets of Mandaue City.

“I admit that we fail to influence them, but we are in the direction for our extensive education campaign,” Manatad said.

To minimize the garbage that flows into the sea, their office has been using a bio-fence, or plastic water bottles that are submerged underwater to act as garbage-collecting barriers.

The garbage is collected by a Suroy-Suroy Sapa team every week, she said.

Manatad said they put up a bio-fence at the Mahiga Creek, but since the downpour happened on a Sunday, maybe the captured garbage had not been collected.

“Maybe the garbage was too much already that when it rained, it overflowed,” she said.

Bryle Vicente, a CCenro administrative aide, said no matter how strictly they monitor those who live near waterways, the waste management and disposal problem cannot be solved without their cooperation.

In a related development, the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) is making sure its personnel and rescue equipment are ready for any untoward incidents, such as landslides and trees along the highway falling over, especially now that the rainy season has started.

Police Major Mercy Villaro, MCPO spokesperson, said almost all of their police personnel underwent training on disaster preparedness and response, which is why each police station in the city has a special unit to respond to disasters.

Villaro said they’ve been working with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the barangays. (From FMD of SuperBalita Cebu, PJB, JJL)


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