AN URBAN planning expert urged local government units in Metro Cebu to implement flood control programs or face more flooding.

During the Understanding Choices Forum organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) yesterday, Dr. Danilo Jaque said that as rainfall intensifies, existing flood control infrastructure may not be able to handle flooding.

Jaque, managing director of Hydronet Consultants, who has been involved in various planning, designing and project monitoring and implementation on drainage and flood control, said that flooding has hit even elevated areas in Metro Cebu during the last heavy rain incidents earlier this month.

Rain gauge

Jaque said that based on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (Pagasa) historical data, rainfall intensity often increases within 25 years.

Last July 1, rainfall in Metro Cebu was measured at 97 mm per hour.

Six years ago, rainfall was measured at around 59 mm per hour.

Jaque explained that as rain intensifies, flood mitigation infrastructure built in creeks and rivers must often be repaired or developed immediately to keep service capacity.

He said majority of river systems in Metro Cebu can only last for two years before a major flooding could occur.

If the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) fail to implement flood mitigating measures on Metro Cebu’s river systems, flood overflow is expected to happen, Jaque said.

Aside from river systems in Metro Cebu, Jaque also noted that flooding in downtown Cebu City, A.S. Fortuna St. and the Banilad-Talamban Rd. will never subside unless LGUs put up measures to prevent it.

Jaque said factors that cause flooding include constricted or silted rivers and creeks.

The lack of drainage connections that connect flooded sections to river systems is also a factor.

Jaque also blamed unregulated runoff coming from upstream areas as another cause for flooding.

He said that while LGU officials allow private developers to put up subdivisions upstream, they fail to require these developers to put up facilities that could manage runoff water, such as cisterns or catchment basins.

In terms of non-structural solutions to flooding, Jaque advised LGUs to formulate a comprehensive and integrated storm water and drainage development framework for Metro Cebu, that includes implementing a watershed-based approach in dealing with flooding from upstream.

“If we talk about the watershed approach, it should not be the responsibility of one, but all LGUs that host the watershed,” Jaque said.

He also advised LGUs to regulate land use in favor of flood mitigation, improve solid waste management by penalizing persons who throw garbage on rivers and streams and remove illegal settlers living in crucial river systems.

In terms of structural solution, Jaque urged the DPWH to prioritize the rehabilitation of flood-mitigation facilities, such as cleaning and desilting river systems, removing and replacing drainage lines and installation of siltation basins.

Lapu-Lapu City

The Lapu-Lapu City Government will prohibit the use of plastic in the City so clogged drainage and flooding will be prevented.

But unlike in Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu Mayor Paz Radaza said they will only implement this for two days, one in a weekday and the other one in a weekend.

Following heavy flooding in Mandaue City last July 1, Mandaue Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing decided to strictly implement City Ordinance 12-2010-562, also known as the Plastic Bag Prohibition Ordinance of 2010.

So flooding will not happen in Lapu-Lapu, Radaza decided to replicate this, but only on Fridays and Saturdays.

“There was already a suggestion and there was already a proposal from Councilor Ricardo Amores. There are certain days in a week, two days in a week, (that this will be implemented),” Radaza said in a press conference.

An ordinance will be proposed to the City Council before the implementation of the prohibition of plastic use.

Radaza said a public hearing will also be conducted.

By the time this will be implemented, Radaza said people will have to bring their own recyclable bags or containers.

Magda na mo’g basket. Magda gyud Tupperware kung isda kay di ba kaniadto mag-basket man. Wa may isda (You should bring your own basket. If you will buy fish, just bring a reusable container because we did not use plastic bags during the old times),” she said.

She said the plastic will clog the drainage if these are improperly thrown.

“We don’t have to see it nga mobara na ug mag-flood usa pa. Atong gitan-aw na lang daan (as implement the ban of plastics, after a flooding in the City. We are looking at what may happen in the) future,” Radaza added.

Mandaue City

In Mandaue City, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office conducted a three-day information drive for vendors and business owners and representatives in the City.

In a press statement, lawyer Liser Malate, legal assistant of the City Legal Office, explained to the attendees that the City gave them six years and the ordinance is long overdue for implementation.

Mandaue decided to strictly implement the ordinance starting Aug. 1.

“An ordinance or any law is not created for convenience, but to instill order and discipline,” Malate said.

He said the information dissemination activity that they conducted means that the City Government is still opening its doors to hear the sentiments of the people.

“More than the penalty to be imposed, what’s important is the discipline that will be imparted,” he added.