CEBU

Briones: No blame game

On the go

FLOODING was already a problem in many parts of Metro Cebu before the arrival of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Just ask the people who live in areas where this is a common occurrence. It has been a way of life for them as long as they can remember. After all, Cebu, like most places in the tropics, only has two seasons: dry and wet. And folks, we all know which time of the year we are in now.

So it really rankles when local officials try to come up with some sort of excuse why the problem has not been addressed.

Last Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, it rained so hard that the Tejero Creek in Cebu City overflowed.

Again, it was to be expected.

The fact that casualties are almost always nil among people who live along its banks only shows that they’ve learned to cope with or adapt to the situation. Or they are resigned to their fate, which is perfectly understandable. At least, they’re not in denial, which explains why and how they’ve managed all these years.

However, the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) is saying it could have been avoided, although, when you come to think of it, that’s not exactly what Cenro head Editha Peros told the public.

Peros said her office would have cleared the city’s waterways if it had enough manpower. Apparently, the regular cleanup was hampered because her staff have been deployed to the City’s command center as a result of the current health crisis.

Yeah, we all know we are in the middle of a health crisis. And we all know the City Government has got its hands full trying to prevent Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, from spreading. Heck, we’ve all known that since the middle of March, which was more than four months ago at the start of summer.

Mayor Edgardo Labella said the City is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways to implement a P1.3 billion drainage project to address flooding in the city.

By the way, he first said that last February. However, the report also said the project would only address the problem in the city’s southern barangays. I’ve no idea where the Tejero Creek is located. So the project may or may not even affect it.

What I do know is that Barangay Tejero had been identified as a frequently flooded area and that it was included in the Department of Engineering and Public Works’ P2 billion proposal in waterway restoration projects that would eliminate the problem.

So there’s no need for the Cenro to be defensive. No one is pointing fingers.

But then it’s so easy to blame the pandemic for everything like, say for example, all those people who are living on various sidewalks or all those children who are accosting passersby for money.

And what about the chaos on the streets? Police have said they’re using drones to fly over the interior of neighborhoods that are hard to access on foot. That way, they can apprehend those who violate quarantine protocol. Yet the milling around of people on J. Urgello St. in Barangay Sambag 1 continues unabated.

By the looks of it, things aren’t so different in the new normal.


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