CEBU City ranks sixth among 16 Philippine cities that a four-year study looked into to determine its vulnerability to impacts of climate change.
To overcome this, the same study suggested for stakeholders to boost food self-sufficiency, improve water management and reduce carbon footprint.
Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, vice chairman of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines National Advisory Council, said Cebu City’s vulnerability is due to the “modal rainfall” it experiences.
“Precipitation in Cebu City has remained statistically constant over the last 20 years, at a mean annual level of 1,614 mm,” part of the study assessment read.
Based on the four-year study, over the last 20 years, 21 storms have crossed Cebu.
More than half of these storms took place in November and December.
Six of the 80 barangays in the city pose a high threat of flooding while 18 are of moderate threat.
Tan said rise in sea level does not only mean flooding. “It is when saltwater enters the land beneath your cities.. which could harm trees and grasses” he said.
In terms of population, Cebu City already has more than 841,000 people in 2010, or an increase of 231,000 inhabitants since 1990.
The city’s population density has reached 2,630 per square kilometer in 2010 from the 1,907 per square kilometer in 1990.
Tan said this one of the problems of Cebu City.
“You’re not as bad as Baguio but you got to watch it because you don’t want this to go out of hand... Your city will need to collect more taxes. Your city will need more resources to be able to move public services forward and yet you don’t want to
increase population that much for it will make it harder for the city,” Tan said.
Reacting to the findings, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said that for the next months up to 2016, the City will be very much aware “on what we are going because we have our template.”
Tan explained the findings of the study conducted by the WWF and Bank of the Philippine Island Foundation Inc. entitled “Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts.”
The study looked into 16 major cities in the country to help these cities assess climate change impacts, identify opportunities and decide on sustainable strategies to retain economic viability.
Aside from Cebu, the other cities in the top 10, in order, are Baguio, Dagupan, Tacloban, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Naga, Santiago and Butuan. The remaining six cities being studied were Davao, Laoag, Angeles, Batangas, General Santos and Puerto Princesa.
Each city was studied based on its climate or environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity and adaptive capacity.
The results of the assessment were presented yesterday at the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi)-Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center.
Despite Cebu City’s problems, which Tan said were typical of a fast-growing city, Cebu remains number one in sea cargoes.
The assessment of the study states that over the last two decades, annual inbound volume has increased seven times, from 0.65 Million metric tons in 1990 to 5.4 Million metric tons in 2010.
Even in tourism arrivals, Cebu increased by 58 percent for the past five years, from 1.12 million in 2005 to 1.76 million in 2010.
Dominica Chua, chief operating officer of Rafi, said the increase of population and urbanization mean an increase of social economic and environmental challenges and could further worsen global warming and climate change.
“The (Metro Cebu Development Coordinating) board and execom have agreed and decided to focus on water and that includes water governance, water management, sewerage and septage, storm water management,” Chua said.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr., for his part, encouraged everyone to help the local government and the private sector find solutions on the existing problems.