CEBUANOS can only blame themselves for today’s water crisis, as reflected in reports that Mayor Tomas Osmeña hired a “water diviner,” emails former environment department officer Amando C. Dayrit.

You built a highway from the city to Balamban. So what's wrong? The watersheds. When you build a road, settlers come, even into watersheds.

Mayor Osmeña declared areas, on both sides of the highway, as commercial zone. That sped up encroachment.

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The Cebu City Council declared all mountain barangays as a “calamity area.” This is just as sick. Those settlements are not supposed to be in watersheds anyway.

Watersheds are public domain. They can’t be classified as private land, unless declared alienable and disposable. Good luck to Cebuanos who thirst because of poor governance.

“Cebu has a history of poorly planned reclamations,” writes Engr. Leonor Lagasca from Iloilo. Her comments followed reports of a "water diviner" hired to meet South Road Properties’ shortages.

The 1995 North reclamation, even today, is not fully used. Why? Cebu’s Port Authority’s expansion of the International Port revealed the underground is too soft for construction. After removal of the “muck,” filling material was mainly sourced from Talamban quarries at 100 truckloads daily.

Shoemart and hotels are built on drilled piles. This is accepted foundation method for areas with too high clay content of filling material and muck on the original sea bottom. But these jack up building cost substantially.

Mandaue reclamation suffers from the same weakness. (So will the Lapu-Lapu plan?) That’s why there’s little high rise construction even today. Cebu Doctors University is the only medium high-rise there.

The road links to the North and the bridges are assets. But the 1996 economic crisis constrained development. SRP’s problems have their roots there.

The market for light industry parks collapsed with China supplying the world at dumping prices. It was inevitable that Joel Yu of Cebu investment promotion office futilely seeks investors.

Toyo built the connection between Tangke and Kawit. These are the eight hectares that Filinvest bought. Dutch dredger, Ballast Nedam, began land-side preparations north of Cebu island from sea till depths of 20 meters. Then Toyo and Ballast Nedam guards disappeared.

Mayor Osmeña complained about limestone sand that dissolved in seawater. He brushed aside warnings that nine million cubic meters of filling material was inadequate to create a sufficient slope.

Mayor Osmeña does not welcome debate on his brainstorms. Among the “victims” of this regime of silence was the warning: SRP’s need for nine million cubic meters of filling material required 500 truckloads daily, over six years, using two narrow access roads.

As a result, Pond A (67 has. of SRP)) still is water. This concern underpins the demand by former senator Sonny Osmeña and the opposition for an audit of SRP. That’s needed to bring some transparency to this project.

0smeña is no fool. He senses that the shortage of buyers indicates flaws in SRP even as he claims it is perfect.

“Anybody looked for ‘ghost voters’ in Cebu City?” asks Dr Carolina Camara, now a resident of Butuan City. “An election can be as clean only as the list of electors are.”

Cebu City’s population by the last census stood at 798,829. Registered voters in two congressional districts is 519,482 Isn’t that too high? I thought the ratio of people to voters varies between 45 percent to 55 percent.”

(juanlmercado@gmail.com)