A PORTION of the oval in Minglanilla town’s sports complex became a swamp yesterday, the green grass covered with murky water and garbage. Part of the asphalted racetrack was wrapped in black mud.

The oval is surrounded by a gym, a fence and some school buildings, so the water, mud and garbage that invaded it must have come from outside, produced by the rain that fell in torrents Wednesday night. A classroom near the gym got flooded, forcing grade school pupils to temporarily take shelter on the concrete steps beside a giant tree.

In a subdivision a few kilometers away, portions of the road were covered with mud, courtesy of the nearby hill whose topsoil was carried by the flood produced by the same torrential rain. This has been the problem of the area’s residents after the long dry spell ended weeks ago.

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Meanwhile, the taxicab we were in Wednesday night had to turn left towards the Cebu South Coastal Road upon reaching the Mambaling area. “Di ta moagi sa Kinasang-an ug Bulacao kay daghang nitiurok nga multicab tungod sa kalawom sa baha,” the driver told us. It’s a recurring occurrence that commuters going to the south have seemingly accepted as a fact of life.

And they remind us of the joke about the leaking roof that the owner of the house has left unattended for years because, motulo ra man ni kun mag-uwan.” The mindset can also be likened to that of a toothache-suffering person who only thinks of going to the dentist when he is in pain. When the pain subsides, however, everything is forgotten.

But with the continuing change in the world’s climate, this attitude is dangerous. It has become obvious that long dry spells and a rainy season marked by typhoons and heavy downpours are no longer aberrations in Philippine weather. Since these are here to stay, government officials (from the barangays up) and people in the communities should not be caught unaware.

Flooding and mudflows that surface in many areas, especially in Metro Cebu, point to faults in our residential setups and drainage systems. Disaster preparedness should therefore focus on these problems.

In the subdivision I mentioned earlier, the size of the canals built by the developer are so small these have become nothing but a joke to date. A river snakes towards the sea nearby, but water (and mud) from the uplands never reach there because the flow is blocked by the walls of residences lining the riverbank. Instead, the water follows the road networks, transforming these into creeks during heavy rain.

It would not have been difficult to find ways to solve the problem had somebody, like a barangay official, pushed for some concerted action. As it is now, nobody has taken the first move, so the problem is expected to recur, if not worsen, as weather disturbances lash at the province more often than before.

The situation, of course, is not unique to that subdivision but is prevailing everywhere. For example, I still have to hear of positive action done by government officials (from the barangay up) to solve the problem of flooding in, say, Kinasang-an, Bulacao and even in portions of the south road traversing Talisay City.

Worse, to the inaction by government officials is added the increasing indifference of people in the communities. Complaints on flooding and related woes have lessened. It is as if we have settled down and are only waiting for the situation to worsen and cause another disaster before we act. Sad.

(khanwens@yahoo.com/ my blog: Cebuano.wordpress.com)