THE equivalent of 75,000 drums of water poured onto Cebu last Sunday, according to Pagasa, and large sections of the city turned into instant swimming pools. If the City Government needed a reminder of the severity of our drainage and flood control system problem none could have been clearer. And grimmer.
The day after the deluge, Mayor Edgar Labella summoned public works officials from both the city and regional offices to an urgent conference that was also attended by some of his trusted lieutenants at City Hall yesterday. He asked: What have you been doing all these years? What are your plans?
From what I’ve heard, there is not much to expect from the DPWH, some of whose flood control projects are scheduled to be implemented in 2026 yet, and therefore the city will have to do mitigating measures pending the implementation of a more comprehensive program. And that will have to be sooner than later.
What disgusted me was the admission by the DPWH that when they undertake road improvement projects, there is no accompanying drainage component. What, City Treasurer Jerone Castillo was incredulous, you rebuild roads and worry about the drainage later?
That’s why you have to coordinate with us, I heard the mayor say before he left to entertain some guests in his office. “From the planning up to the execution of a project in our city, that is what the Local Government Code provides.”
In the meantime, Pagasa warned that Cebu will experience two more days of heavy rains. Our antiquated, almost non-existent, drainage system makes flooding inevitable in that event. Labella has been in office as mayor for barely two months but it is his sad lot to be charged with paying for the sins of the past.
Thelma Chiong feels betrayed and rightly so. She had trusted in the country’s judicial system to bring justice to her two young daughters who were abducted, raped and then brutally slain. Her faith was rewarded when the courts, both trial and appellate, convicted the accused and condemned them to a stiff jail sentence, and only because the death penalty has in the meantime been deleted from our statute books.
So it naturally came as a shock to her when she learned that all those who have been convicted of assaulting her daughters, save for one who is serving time in Spain, have been released, courtesy of a law that rewards good behavior even by felons.
The law is not supposed to apply in favor of those who are guilty of heinous crimes but by some stroke of luck, almost two thousand of them have already regained their freedom. Okay, I am being facetious. There was no luck involved, just manipulation.
Chiong wants her daughters’ tormentors brought back to jail, an idea that is supported by Cebu South District Rodrigo Abellanosa. But the law says that the good conduct credit can no longer be revoked once it is granted. So how is a return to jail possible?
Chiong admits to having been wearied by the struggle to seek justice for her daughters. And now she had salt rubbed on still unhealed wounds.