PUBLIC structures that are built on canals will have to go as Davao City faces flooding problems, said Mayor Sara Duterte as she warned the city to expect more floods in the coming years.

"Kung ilahang i-recommend nga kinahanglan nato mag-demolish para malimpyohan ang atong mga canal (If the CEO will recommend that we need to demolish some structures just so we can clean the canal beneath them then), we will do it. We will do it according to law, Kanang naa gyuy due process (that there will be due process)," Duterte said in an interview at Grand Men Seng Hotel Thursday.

During her father's last term as mayor, a bone of contention and lawsuits was the demolition of the Nograles Park, which was built upon an open canal at the Mini Forest along Quezon Boulevard. When demolished, truckloads of trapped garbage, including a junk refrigerator, were excavated from the water beneath.

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Former House Speaker Prospero Nograles resented the action and sued the city for the demolition. The city got the upper hand as the suspension of key officials held responsible for the demolition was lifted by the appellate court last year.

Duterte said the drainage system of the city can no longer hold the volume of rainfall and thus, people will just have to brace for more floods.

"Ginaexpect na nga every year, mutaas pa na ang tubig every time naay rainy season. Dili na man gud maka-cope up ang atong drainage system because of new development. Ang atoang drainage system fit siya mga several decades ago pa and with the new development dili na niya makaya, dili na siya in sync (We expect heavier rainfall every rainy season and our drainage system can no longer cope up. Its design is fit for the city several decades ago but now, with the new developments in the city, it's no longer appropriate)," Duterte said.

This is made worse by clogged drainage and those that are covered by public structures.

"Pag kusog ang ulan, dili na ni niya kaya (When the rain falls, water overflows)," Duterte said.

The work on this problem, however, is delegated to the Drainage Maintenance Unit, which is also tasked to assess the status of canals.

"Ang ilahang ginabuhat is as much as possible mabawasan ang hugaw sa mga canal. Ang atoang city engineer always looking pag-solve especially sa mga areas nga barado na (The drainage unit removes the clogs while the CEO is tasked to look for ways to solve the problem especially in areas where the canals are clogged)," Duterte said.

The park in Mini-Forest Boulevard was demolished 2008 by the City Government, prompting Nograles to file charges against city officials with the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao.

Subsequently, three city officials led by City Administrator Wendel Avisado were ordered suspended on August 3, 2009 but the Court of Appeals on August 13, 2009 granted a temporary restraining order, which also prevents the issuance of suspension orders against the three officials.

Reports in 2008 said the park was constructed in 2002 and completed in 2006. The park is worth P4 million at the time it was completed but its value at the time it was demolished could reach P7 million. Residents of Barangay 22 were the ones who requested for the project few years back. It was funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways through the initiative of former Speaker Nograles, reports said.

Unfazed by recount

Meanwhile, Duterte said she is leaving the recount petition filed by the former House Speaker to her lawyers, which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila granted recently.

"I have no problems with that. Kana nga issue, gibilin na nako sa akong mga (I have left that issue to my) lawyers to attend to. We have already given our reply to the Comelec on the petition (to nullify my win). Basically, our comment was just opposite sa ilahang gisulti (what they said)," Duterte said.

In a 14-page petition last May, defeated mayoral candidate House Speaker Prospero Nograles filed an election protest seeking to nullify the proclamation of Duterte.

In the petition, Nograles alleged that massive election irregularities transpired in all 1,172 clustered precincts in this city during the May 10 elections. He cited the questionable deployment of employees from the city mayor's office, "zombie" voters, and the reconfiguration of compact flash (CF) cards.

He also accused Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of deploying 116 employees to the offices of the election officers in the first to third congressional districts.

In a press statement, an 11-page decision was made by the Comelec Second Division in August 13, saying the poll body sees the election protest filed by Nograles "enough in form and substance."

It added that one precinct count optical scan machine will be used for the recount.

Duterte said she has yet to receive a copy of the Comelec decision. (JCZ)