Over P8B needed to stem Cebu floods

Over P8B needed to stem Cebu floods
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TWENTY years after a drainage master plan was mapped out for the Cebu City Government, only about 20 percent has been implemented, but much more than the P8.2 billion allotted for the plan will now be needed to complete its implementation.

A resolution dated Sept. 20, 2023 noted that there have been no recent updates on Cebu City’s Drainage Master Plan, formulated in 2004, prompting the City Council to request the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW), the Cebu City Planning Development Office (CPDO) and the DPWH to present the latest updates on the drainage master plan on Oct. 25, 2023.

The same resolution stated that the 2016 Comprehensive Study for a Metro Cebu Integrated Flood and Drainage System Master Plan by the DPWH Central Visayas has not seen effective implementation.

The proposed plan includes the restoration of major waterways to their original specifications in terms of depth, width and length.

In an interview after an executive session Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, Earl Carlo Escanuela, DPWH 7 Unified Project Management Office-Flood Control Management Cluster (UPMO-FCMC) engineer III, said the total fund requirement for the projects they have to implement in the different rivers in Cebu City is about P8.2 billion.

The rivers include Bulacao, Guadalupe, Hipodromo, Kinalumsan, Lahug, Linao, Parian, Subangdaku and Tejero.

Escanuela said implementation is ongoing on the projects, which include the improvements of the Lahug, Guadalupe, Kinalumsan and Bulacao rivers.

The total amounts spent for each river are Lahug, P575,320,000; Guadalupe, P700,696,000; Kinalumsan, P614,041,000; and Bulacao river, P1,220,872,000, which is a total of P3,110,929,000.

Escanuela said at least 18 projects remained unimplemented under the P8.2 billion fund requirement, including the Drainage Main to Hipodromo River, Subangdaku River Improvement, Hipodromo Creek Improvement, Drainage Main to Lahug River, Drainage Main along highway to Sea, Lahug-Tejero Diversion Channel, Tejero Creek Improvement, Pari-an Creek Improvement, Drainage Main to Butuanon River, Drainage Main to Butuanon River, Drainage Main to Pari-an Creek, Linao River Improvement, Drainage Main along highway, Drainage Main to Pari-an Creek, Drainage Main to Pari-an Creek, and Drainage Main along highway.

In a separate interview Wednesday also after the executive session, Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, said the projects include the widening, excavating, diverting and other civil works on Cebu City’s rivers.

Guardo said the budget appropriations mentioned came from a study conducted by the DPWH.

Guardo did not specify when the DPWH conducted its study.

Right of way

Guardo said the DPWH-UPMO has initiated the project from downstream, facing challenges due to encroachments, both on private property and properties illegal to use, especially upstream in

identified creeks.

“Implementing civil works becomes difficult for the contractor due to right-of-way issues,” Guardo said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

He said in coordination with the DPWH, they have recommended to prioritize and allocate funds for right-of-way acquisition to address private lot owners’ concerns before proceeding with civil works requests, ensuring a smooth implementation of flood control projects.

Guardo said there was a P140 million budget appropriation for informal settlers’ relocation sites during the initial UPMO project implementation.

He said the amount is on top of the P8.2 billion, and an additional budget is needed for right-of-way acquisition.

When asked if the City has requested a budget appropriation for right-of-way acquisition, Guardo expressed a personal preference for the DPWH to provide the budget for a prompt project implementation.

No-show contractor

In 2020, the Cebu City Government awarded a contract to A.M. Oreta and Co. Inc. to implement a drainage project worth P1.3 billion to solve flooding problems in the city’s southern barangays.

On Sept. 7, 2023, SunStar Cebu reported that the Cebu City Legal Office recommended terminating the contract for the P1.328 billion flood control project, and recovering the P200 million advance payment made to the winning contractor.

In its 2022 audit report, the Commission on Audit had flagged the City’s infrastructure projects, which included the flood mitigation project where an “excessive” advance payment of P199.32 million was made on June 15, 2021.

On Dec. 20, 2023, for the fourth time, the Cebu City Council invited A.M. Oreta to an executive session to hear from them the updates regarding the project’s implementation, but the contractor still failed to appear, according to Guardo.

Guardo said the ball is now in the hands of the executive department, where an investigation is being conducted on the delay in the project’s implementation.

Guardo said they wanted to know the “plan direction” of the executive department on the matter.

Guardo said on the part of the legislative body, they want to continue implementing the project, saying it would be a big help to the City in solving the flood issues.


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