Climate change is no longer a fairy tale, or theory, but it is a fact and a reality that our and the future generation will have to face its dire consequences if our political leaders put a premium on playing politics instead of taking care of our environment by strictly enforcing the environmental laws, or crafting new laws that would enhance the existing laws that protect our environment. The signs are clear that our climate has changed a lot. Scientists put the blame on people and business entrepreneurs’ lack of concern for the environment because human activities have resulted in high emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

I can still recall in my younger days in my hometown that during the dry season, particularly in the months of March, April and May, we experienced searing heat on sunny days, and there was neither a single drop of rain nor a tropical storm that visited us. Rain would only come during the month of July and in the “ber” months, the wet season months.

I cannot imagine that in the USA a severe flooding hit Kentucky that several lives and properties were lost but, on the other hand, fires ate up several acres of forest land in California. Older and cynical people may call these events mysterious, if not wrath from God and a warning to the nonbelievers. But scientists say these events are products of humans’ utter neglect of the environment.

Who would ever think that in April this year, considered the hottest month in the country as we Catholics celebrate the Holy Week, Tropical Storm Agaton hit Eastern Visayas, leaving untold damage and death. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 75 people lost their lives as a consequence of floods and mudslides brought about by the heavy rainfall from Typhoon Agaton while 298 people were reported missing.

In the past weeks, we have experienced downpours so that some areas of Cebu City, particularly the low-lying areas, were inundated, and all that we could do was pray for good weather and urge the government leaders to act on what is necessary in preventing calamities like flood.

The national government has provided the local government units prone to floods with the flood control projects, and Cebu City is one of the recipients. But the removal of the illegal structures of informal settlers along the city’s waterways was stalled during the May 9, 2022 polls.

Some of the victims of the recent flash floods due to the sudden heavy rains were the informal settlers along the prohibited areas in Kinalumsan River in Cebu City. It is not too late for the city government to transfer the informal settlers along this river to safer areas and demolish the illegal structures. And who is being blamed for the disaster? The city officials for their lackadaisical actions hindered by their lack of political will.

Big structures built by influential businessmen along or on top of the city’s waterways are still there despite the aggressive efforts of the previous city administration to remove these illegal structures that come with a threat of bringing to court the owners.

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama has exhibited political will in some of his executive actions, especially now that he’s dreamed of making Cebu City a Singapore-like city. But for Mayor Rama to fulfill his dream, he has to act like Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Impose the laws and city ordinances without fear or favor to make the city clean, tidy and orderly.