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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Facing flood problem head-on

MANDAUE City will start implementing a ban on plastics in all business establishments starting next week, using an ordinance approved six years ago.

Cebu City, for its part, will implement water impounding, diversion and catchment projects in some flood-prone areas, starting with N. Bacalso Ave.

Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña announced these measures yesterday, while Metro Cebu prepares to deal with floods during a season of heavy rains.

Quisumbing, in his first press conference as Mandaue mayor, said he believes it’s the right time “to put forward the most aggressive solution” that the City has to solve the drainage problem.

“I understand this is not the main culprit in the recent flooding. It certainly is one of the biggest factors. My task now is to implement what is already there and it is my intention to fully implement the plastic ban a week from now. People are already aware that there is a plastic ban,” Quisumbing told reporters.

Plastics made up much of the truckloads of garbage fished out of the Mahiga Creek during the weekend, he said. That creek overflowed during last Friday night’s rain, which led to flooding that kept commuters and drivers on the road for more than three hours.

Plastic bag ordinance

City Engineer Andres Suson said that the City’s teams gathered four truckloads of garbage from Mahiga Creek during their dredging operation.

City Ordinance 12-2010-562, also known as Plastic Bag Prohibition Ordinance of 2010, prohibits the use and distribution of disposable plastic bags and polystyrene containers (such as Styrofoam) in any establishments in the city, including carenderias and sari-sari stores.

The ordinance allows only the use of “paper bags, cloth, recyclable paper and/or reusable checkout bags.”

Owners who fail to follow the ordinance will be fined P500 or face five days’ imprisonment, or both.

“his is already six years delayed. Whether we do one week, one month or one year of implementation, at the end of the day, we are going to do this. We have to do this. There is really no alternative. If we are not going to do this, well, we would only have ourselves to blame kung naay baha (if it floods again),” Quisumbing added.

For his part, Mayor Osmeña said a comprehensive Metro Cebu drainage system will only create bureaucracy and not solve the flooding problem.

Instead, he said, the Cebu City Government will implement water impounding, diversion and catchment projects in some flood-prone areas.

Focus

In a news conference yesterday, Osmeña said the City is focusing on impounding rainwater underneath N. Bacalso Ave.

“There’s one project that we’re implementing already but (former mayor) Mike Rama blocked it. Bebot (second district Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa) and I were able to get it approved just a few weeks ago before the end of term of PNoy (former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino),” he said.

With a budget of P700 million and the contractor already chosen in a bidding, the project is set for implementation early next year.

Osmeña said the project involves setting up a large water tank that will slowly pump out the impounded water.

“Why underneath N. Bacalso? Because there’s no right of way there, then the road will still be there on top of the water tank,” he said.

As for the downtown area, the mayor said the City might need to divert a waterway from Osmeña Blvd. to Guadalupe River.

The river, being huge, could accommodate run-off and rainwater, he said.

Osmeña, however, clarified that some problems have yet to be considered.

He assured that although the impounding may increase water level, the residents’ safety will not be endangered.

The catchment, on the other hand, is scheduled to be operational by the end of this week.

Temporary pathway

Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office head Nagiel Bañacia, in an interview, said the catchment will be built in Sitio Nasipit in Barangay Talamban.

“The place has been flooded for 16 years now. It’s also affecting the flooding in (Barangays) Cabancalan ang Banilad because the water’s exit is blocked,” he said.

Creating a canal leading to a dam or pool, contacting the land owners and tapping the services of City engineers for the project’s technical aspect are being considered.

In the meantime, Bañacia said the City will create a temporary pathway for pedestrians as the floodwater from last Friday’s rain has not yet subsided.

He added that barangay health workers are now tending to the 250 individuals whose houses were affected by the flooding.

“The barangay is also coordinating with the local government unit in Mandaue City for the water’s exit way. But, before we ask what the government can do, let’s all think about what we can do,” he said.

Aside from the projects mentioned, Osmeña said he wants to put rubbish drops in the city’s rivers.

He, however, clarified that it has to be studied and the right of way must be established before implementing the project.

“The rubbish will not be spread out in the whole river. You let it build up in one area where we can collect and maintain it to save on expenses,” he said.

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