THE Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) is willing to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 for the immediate implementation of Metro Cebu’s Flood Control and Drainage System Master Plan.

Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino said they will ask DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas to provide details on the P731.06-million flood control projects in Cebu for this year.

“We have identified the cause of the flooding. The forum that the OPAV and Mega Cebu initiated last Wednesday has identified the solutions to the flooding problem,” Dino said.

He said he wants to know how many families will be affected and how many settlers, informal or titled, will be displaced and need to be relocated.

He said they will ask local government units (LGUs) to provide resettlement areas.

Identified projects

“Your OPAV will find funds to build houses in those relocations sites. I assure the residents in the riverbanks that there would be no dislocation without relocation,” he said.

The flood control and drainage improvement projects cover Bulacao, Kinalumsan, Guadalupe, Lahug and Subangdaku River basins in Cebu City worth P422.060 million; Kinalumsan River Flood Control Project worth P70 million; and the Tejero Channel Improvement Project worth P96 million.

Dino said the OPAV will ask the National Economic and Development Authority 7 to conduct a social impact study to determine the effect of resettlement due to these anti-flood projects.

Dino also appealed to businessmen whose establishments have encroached on rivers and canals to join in finding solutions to Cebu’s flooding.

“I also appeal to commercial establishments to conduct a voluntary dismantling of their structures that have encroached on the rivers and creeks,” he said.

Earlier, the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) recommended to the government to do three things to solve flooding problems that may kill thousands of people if no action is taken.

Engr. Fortunato Sanchez Jr., chairman of the MCDCB Infrastructure and Utilities Subcommittee, said the DPWH and LGUs can conduct an integrated drainage network master plan for Metro Cebu, resolve the right-of-way on waterways and build dams to store rainwater.

Sanchez made his presentation during the anti-flooding summit last Wednesday that was called by Dino and attended by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

Sanchez said that in 1983, there was a drainage master plan done by Norwegian consultants.

In 1995, the Japan International Cooperation Agency also had a drainage master plan.

In 2007, another drainage master plan was conducted by TGCI Consultants.

In all three cases, the government didn’t do anything, he said.

Sanchez said that last July 1, the rainfall was 55 millimeters, which the weather bureau Pagasa described as normal, but it caused massive flooding and traffic gridlock in the metro for five hours.

“If we don’t do anything to solve this problem, maybe with a moderate rain in 2023, we can have massive flooding and traffic gridlock for five days,” he said.

Villar, for his part, said the consultations with stakeholders are timely, since the agency is in the process of finalizing its 2017 budget and it is very important to get input from the public.

“For the 2017 budget we will fund not only flood control projects but also for traffic congestion, among other problems in Cebu,” Villar said. With PR