FLOODING occurred in four cities in Metro Cebu Thursday night, Aug. 4, 2022, following heavy rains, destroying houses and causing evacuations but not fatalities.

And in Cebu City, an official has placed the blame partly on ongoing flood control projects.

Raquel Bohol-Arce, acting head of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO), said Friday that the massive flooding damaged 13 houses and destroyed seven others in Cebu City.

Arce said seven people were also trapped due to flooding in Sitio Bukog in Barangay T. Padilla, Sitio Tambisan in Barangay Tisa, Sitio Purok in Barangay Sambag, Sitio Langob in Barangay Buhisan, Sitio Boracay in Barangay Tisa, Sitio Tres de Abril in Barangay Labangon, and Sitio Lower in Barangay Carreta.

The CCDRRMO responded to about 13 incidents, which included landslide, flooding and rescue operations, in nine barangays, she added.

Four rescue operations were conducted by the CCDRRMO, together with the Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine National Police, in Kinalumsan River, La Paloma in Barangay Tisa; Butuanon River, Asian Arts in Barangay Labangon; Metro Police in Barangay Pit-os; and Lower Sindulan in Barangay Mabolo.

She added that the river in C. Padilla also overflowed.

The CCDRRMO reported that 11 families, or 93 individuals in Barangay Tisa were affected by heavy flooding.

The office also said Sitio Langob in Barangay Buhisan remained impassable due to landslides, while a portion of the road in Barangay Busay was partially obstructed.

No deaths

However, the CCDRRMO clarified Friday, August 5, that no one died in the flooding that hit Metro Cebu Thursday night.

Gerard Joe Carillo of the CCDRRMO said the two individuals who were swept away after the Kinalumsan River in Barangay Mambaling overflowed Thursday night due to heavy rains had survived.

Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) chairman Gerardo Carillo, father of Gerard Joe, had reported on Thursday evening that one of the victims had died in the incident.

One of the victims was Basil Baylosis, 24, of Sitio Maganda in Barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City.

“Wala tay patay (We have no deaths). Both he (Baylosis) and his spouse have been reported rescued and accounted for last night,” Gerard Joe clarified.

Arce also confirmed this, saying Baylosis and his wife were rescued at 11:17 p.m.

Projects to blame

Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo blamed ongoing flood control projects and garbage for the flooding that hit homes in the city’s urban barangays on Thursday.

When the floods subsided, Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure and urban planning, visited the flood control projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the four large rivers of Cebu City to determine the source of the flood.

“One of the things I noticed is that in our ongoing flood control projects, there are temporary embankments made of soil in the river because that’s where the back hoe will be mobilized,” Guardo said in Cebuano.

The councilor said that under the new method used by the DPWH in its flood control projects, sheet piles replaced the former riprap composed of stones. And the embankments that serve as the path for heavy equipment installing the sheet piles temporarily occupy three-fourths of the river or creek.

Guardo said this reduces the pathways for water, causing overflow when heavy rains come.

He sought the public’s patience, saying this was just a “temporary inconvenience because the direction of the City Government is for the long-term solution. So in every construction there is inconvenience.”

The DPWH 7, assisted by the Cebu City Government, has four flood control projects in the city.

These are in the Tejero and Tinago rivers, in Zapatera-Lorega San Miguel, in Kinalumsan river and in Tagunol in Pardo that all have embankments that block floodwaters during heavy rain.

Guardo said he would coordinate with the DPWH 7 to speed up the flood control work, especially now that the rainy season is underway.

The councilor said once the four flood control projects in Cebu City are completed, the impact of floods during heavy rains will be reduced.

Lapu-Lapu City

The Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LLCDRRMO) said no residents in the city evacuated due to heavy rains Thursday night.

LLCDRRMO head Nagiel Bañacia told SunStar Cebu Friday, though that an area in Sitio Tangke, Barangay Basak was flooded.

He said they also did not receive any report on casualties.

“We only had flooding here because we don’t have rivers and mountains. It’s more on inconvenience,” said Bañacia.

Al Quiblat, Pagasa Visayas weather bureau chief, said Thursday evening that the downpour was brought by a low pressure area (LPA) and southwest monsoon.

In its advisory issued at 6 a.m. Friday, Pagasa said the LPA was estimated to be over the coastal water of Calauag, Quezon as of 3 a.m.

Talisay City

In Talisay City, Alvin Santillan, head of the Talisay City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, also said no residents evacuated during the heavy rains in Metro Cebu.

However, Santillan said some residents in the neighboring town of Minglanilla were evacuated after a part of the town experienced flooding.

He said Talisay was spared somewhat because it was just a localized thunderstorm.

“In the residential area, the water level in the rivers rose but did not overflow,” Santillan said.

He said only if strong rains persist for more than two hours is there a risk that the river under the Mananga Bridge will overflow.

Mandaue City

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes urged residents to help solve the city’s flood problem by being responsible in disposing of their waste.

Cortes told reporters Friday that the prevailing flood problem in Mandaue and other areas of Cebu was due to climate change following people’s irresponsibility in managing their waste.

“I am not blaming anyone, but this problem happens because we throw our trash anywhere that clogs our rivers. Please help the government. We have limited sources, so we also have limited movements,” said Cortes.

The mayor said the government continues to clear up Mandaue’s danger zones or flood-prone areas by relocating people living in these areas.

Data from the Office of the City Engineer showed that these areas are Barangays Centro, Looc, Opao, Umapad, Cambaro, Subangdaku and Paknaan.

Cortes said they aim not only to provide these individuals with decent houses but also to ensure their safety should calamities hit the city.

Following the heavy rain last Thursday, several areas in Mandaue were flooded, like A.S. Fortuna St., the Tipolo Area, A.C. Cortes Avenue, Highway Seno, the area near the Maguikay flyover, M. Logarta Ave., and A del Rosario Street.

The water level of its rivers Butuanon, Cambogang and Lub-ang, the area near 6.5 Zone Ahos in Paknaan, almost reached the riprap.

In a social media post, the Mandaue City Risk Reduction and Management Office said 11 families from Barangay Ibabao and about 80 from Sitio Tambis and Laray in Barangay Umapad were evacuated.

In Laray, resident Nofa Flores, 57, said the water rose above the head level. (BBT, PAC / LMY, MKG, HIC)