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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Flood fixes floated

TO HELP prevent floods, the Cebu City Government will add more water catchments in its 28 mountain barangays, an official said yesterday.

Mandaue City’s engineering office will continue to dredge creeks and other waterways, after filling two trucks during the weekend with garbage from Mahiga Creek.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 said it has five major flood control projects that will be implemented in some creeks or rivers in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.

The agency is also conducting a feasibility study on drainage and flood control solutions for Metro Cebu, said DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas.

Findings from the flood that hit Metro Cebu last Friday night will be woven into the study, which will spell out measures to address flooding, Canlas said.

Hundreds of commuters spent three hours or more on the road last Friday night in Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay cities, while floods stalled vehicles and slowed down the flow of traffic.

“Instead of having so much water like what happened last Friday, the catchments will serve as basins. The streaming water will likely be lesser,” said Engr. Josefa Ylanan, head of Cebu City Hall’s Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW).

Canals, garbage

Aside from the construction of catchments, DEPW will make sure canals in the city are cleaned to prevent clogging the waterways.

Although there are no plans to dredge the waterways yet, Ylanan said that DEPW personnel will be given directives today to ensure safety and cleanliness.

The barangays, for their part, are implementing the “no segregation, no collection” rule.

Association of Barangay Councils chief and Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra, in a separate interview, urged everyone to do their part by cleaning their areas and disposing of their garbage properly.

“On behalf of all the barangays, we must also do our parts because even the smallest efforts can make big differences,” he said.

He added that the city’s village chiefs are one in their appeal to City Hall to prioritize rehabilitating the drainage system.

Floating garbage

He pointed to Sta. Teresita Village in their barangay as one of the flood-prone areas that need immediate action. The spot, being the lowest portion of the barangay, has become a catch basin for all the runoff water for years now.

“In fact, last Friday’s floodwater was more than knee-deep in the area. But we are doing our best to maintain its cleanliness,” Zafra said.

Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Nagiel Bañacia, on the other hand, said their personnel are ready to assist in an emergency.

In Mandaue City, the City Engineering Office continued dredging creeks and other waterways.

They filled two trucks with garbage they had removed from the Mahiga creek, particularly the area in Barangay Subangdaku.

According to their estimates, the remaining garbage in that part of the creek could fill four more trucks.

City Engineer Andres Suson said they will continue dredging waterways and canals near Gentle Breeze Subdivision on the border of Barangays Subangdaku and Banilad, and near Rolling Hills on A.S. Fortuna St., also in Banilad.

“Mao ni ang area nga critical nga kailangan gyud i-improve kay grabe ang basura kon magbaha (It’s critical that we improve this area because so much trash ends up here during a flood),” Suson said.

Study

For its part, the DPWH said that its United Project Management Office-Flood Control Management Cluster (UPMO-FCMC) is currently doing a feasibility study on drainage and flood control projects in Metro Cebu.

Five flood control projects, including one for Tipolo River in Mandaue, have been included in the DPWH budget for 2016 under the General Appropriations Act.

Preliminary detailed engineering works on these projects are ongoing, Canlas said. These projects may be completed either within this year or in 2017, depending on how fast the local governments can sort out road right-of-way issues.

“Definitely, with the completion of these projects, the flooding problems in Cebu City and Mandaue City will be reduced significantly, particularly within the area of influence of the said projects,” Canlas said.

Another public official pointed out that large culverts had been installed along A.S. Fortuna St. by DPWH, yet it still saw heavy flooding last Friday.

Nature-based

“Although it didn’t take any longer (for the flood) to do down, it means we have to revisit our infrastructure plan so that it would be able to withstand the volume of rain,” said Eddie Llamedo, public information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

One thing that’s needed is a massive education and awareness-raising program on how each citizen can care for nature.

“We had been warned by (the state weather bureau) Pagasa but these have fallen on deaf ears. Sadly, we will have to embed in the consciousness the urgent need for long-term, nature-based solutions planning participated in by stakeholders, not just for disasters and emergency situations but for the development path we are taking,” said Oceana Philippines Vice President Gloria Estenzo Ramos.

Atty. Ramos pointed out practices that have destroyed “essential life support systems”, such as “relentlessly cutting trees, entombing the sea grass and corals with filling materials and sediments, and destroying the forest, including mangroves.”

“By destroying nature, we are stripping our children and their children of their rights to a sustainable tomorrow,” Ramos said.

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