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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Mongaya: Mahiga Creek

THE heavy rains and floods late last Friday afternoon stranded me at the APM mall across SM City. The wide road separating APM from SM City had become a river of sorts. The waters in front of me was knee deep. But there were people passing by who were wet up to the chest. One said the waters at the other end of the road–near Mahiga Creek–was waist high. The security guard told me there was an overflow at the Mahiga Creek.

I took photos of the flood and posted one in Facebook describing the place as something like “Seaside.” I continued to say that a budget for drainage projects in Mahiga Creek was realigned in 2014. I thought if the project was implemented then, the floods around the area could not have been that bad.

Of course, the post attracted both pro- and anti-Osmeña comments. After all, that was the first day of Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s term.

Early yesterday afternoon, I was surprised to read a comment from Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera. She said, “You are spreading misinformation. It was only the administration of Mayor Rama that had the political will to clean up Mahiga Creek. The project was stalled because Tomas Osmeña filed a case against the City Government for implementing the project.”

This prompted me to check my notes. As of this writing, I will content myself with the following which I intend to later post in my FB and in Maghisgot Kita’g Politika, Bay.

Sometime in March 2014, the local finance committee pushed for a supplemental budget amounting to P325 million for the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC). Some P300 million were taken from river improvement and drainage projects.

My notes are not complete but perhaps, the good councilor might have conveniently overlook the following budget items:

(201-001-009-2014) Lot acquisition – Purchase of Lot for River Improvement (Mahiga Creek) amounting to P30 million.

(257-001-037-2014) Waterways, Aqueducts, Seawall, River Walls, etc. – Repair/Construction of Drainage System Comprehensive Projects ROWA & structural in Mahiga Creek amounting to P100 million.

I have notes of other drainage projects amounting to P290,874,017.50 that the Rama administration had money already appropriated but failed to implement in 2013 and 2014.

Sometime in July 2015, the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that the money realigned from drainage projects for the CCMC was withdrawn upon maturity per Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) Credit Advice dated Dec. 8, 2014.

It was found out that P168.3 million was distributed to senior citizens; P28 million was distributed to PWDs; P793,800 paid for the honorariums of consultants; and another P6.5 million was used to pay for additional honorarium of barangay officials.

With these said, I challenge Councilor Pesquera to prove that she’s not the one “spreading misinformation.” A brilliant lawyer, the councilor could perhaps argue that covering up for Rama’s failures is not misinformation. Love perhaps? Haha!

Many at APM waded through the knee-high waters. I waited for the waters to come down so our family vehicle could safely fetch me. It was nearly 10 p.m. when I was able to leave the place.

***

The photos of President Rody Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo meeting for the first time at the AFP turnover rites at Camp Aguinaldo looked like that kilig moment when Maine and Alden first saw each other.

But then, Aldub is showbiz. There are real political obstacles to DuRo.

For one, they are the symbolic heads of PDP-Laban and LP, the country’s emerging administration and opposition parties. Two, there are issues like the death penalty and the Marcos burial where both leaders do not agree. Three, there are two political leaders close to President Duterte who consider Leni obstacles to their political objectives–Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Bongbong Marcos.

I just find it ironic though that Cayetano and Marcos cancelled each other out in the last election. They were both present during Duterte’s inaugural.

But then, there are also reasons that favor both Duterte and Robredo working together. Duterte, in his inaugural speech, talked about being president of all Filipinos. I understood this as president not only of those who voted for him. He is clearly sincere in his desire to improve the lot of the poor. Robredo, on the other hand, likewise stressed both the need for unity in addressing the plight of people “na nasa laylayan.”

I am hopeful that first meeting at the AFP event between our two top leaders would lead to something good for the Filipino people.

(@anol_cebu in Twitter)
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