A CEBU City Hall consultant said that although hundreds of millions will be needed, implementing the comprehensive drainage master plan will also require political will among government officials in clearing waterways.
Pedro Compendio said the drainage master plan is designed to drain the water to the sea through its rivers and other waterways.
But thousands, both poor and rich, keep houses either over the rivers or so close to the banks that they violate the three-meter easement requirement.
“This needs not only money but political will,” Compendio said.
One major intervention recommended by the consultants behind the drainage plan is to stop or slow down the flow of water from the mountains, which is why they suggested the construction of impounding dams.
“There are six rivers where the water is supposed to drain. But this is very difficult because of the inhabitants along these rivers,” he said.
The second major intervention recommended is desilting the rivers.
Before he was hired as a consultant, Compendio served as project manager of Gen-Son-TCGI-Woodfields-Spaces Joint Venture, which City Hall contracted to study the City’s overall drainage system.
The project was finished and accepted by the City in 2006, or two years after it entered into a P13.6-million contract with the group.
Compendio said the whole master plan was estimated in 2007 to cost the City P1.2 billion.
The immediate and short-term plan requires at least P552 million, yet only P9.5 million has been allocated for the construction of dams, including one each in Barangays Lahug and Apas.
A report by Kenneth Enriquez of the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) provoked the ire of the mayor, who said he cannot fund a project if there is no program of works and estimates (Powe) prepared by the engineering department.
The mayor also said he has been asking the DEPW to give him the Powe for months.
Meanwhile, City Planning and Development Coordinator Paul Villarete told the City Council his office is not involved in the crafting of the drainage master plan.
“Our main contribution to the plan was limited to the preparation of the terms of reference when it was bid out, and in providing assistance to DEPW and the consultants during the barangay- and community-level consultations, before it was finalized. We also assist in their inclusion in the Annual Investment Plan, as submitted by the DEPW,” he said in his letter.
Villarete said the master plan “was prepared by the DEPW, through the assistance of the Spaces consultants, and its implementation is likewise entrusted to that office—having the proper legal mandate and structure to do so.”
“Planning of drainage structures is the responsibility of the Planning and Design Division of DEPW and their construction and maintenance are handled by the Road and Drainage Maintenance Division of the same office,” he said.
His letter was in response to the City Council’s Resolution 10-1822, which requested the City Planning and Development Office to submit to the body a status report on the drainage master plan.