13 days after massive flooding, Labella forms group to solve waterway blockage

GRAY CITY. A gloomy atmosphere invades Cebu City during a light rainfall on Monday afternoon, Oct. 26, 2020. The city and other parts of Cebu Province have been experiencing ugly weather as a direct effect of the southwest monsoon or “habagat,” which is the prevailing weather system in the entire Visayas in the latter part of the year. (Amper Campaña)

FOLLOWING his meeting with the owners of the 83 establishments identified to be obstructing Cebu City’s waterways, Mayor Edgardo Labella has created a committee to solve the problem on structures that block canals, creeks and rivers in the city.

The local executive’s move came 13 days after torrential rains inundated Cebu City on Oct. 13, 2020, not just in its downtown area but also in parts of its uptown section.

The ad hoc committee is composed of City Engineer Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez, representatives of the Department of Public Works and Highways 7, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7, the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team, and the City Legal Office.


The committee, according to Labella, will also oversee the compliance of the building owners in removing the obstructions, as well as come up with an engineering solution to address the obstructions.

Labella said the 83 building owners whom he met on Monday, Oct. 26, were cooperative; they promised to remove the obstructions.

The mayor set no deadline for the removal of the buildings’ structures that hindered the city’s watercourse; he gave the owners a “reasonable time” for their clearing activities.

Filing of complaints against building owners who will not fulfill their promises is the City’s last resort, said Labella.

“We suggested that we really have to work together,” Labella said.

Most of the identified establishments were built in the 1970s and 1990s.

In previous reports, Office of the Building Official head Florante Catalan said the inspection of his personnel will continue until all establishments near the waterways will be covered.

The massive flooding that hit the city last Oct. 13 and took the lives of three persons prompted the City Government to address the problem of the waterway obstruction—a factor that contributed to the flooding. (JJL)


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