Garganera: No program to solve flooding

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, USJ-R Intern Rosalie O. Abatayo September 22,2017 - 11:02 PM

Floodwaters rise along Kaohsiung Street at the North Reclamation Area due to heavy rains.
CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO

JUST a few hours of rain on Thursday afternoon caused heavy floods and monstrous traffic in major streets in Cebu City.

The same problem that the residents have been facing regardless of who the sitting officials are at City Hall. But Councilor Joel Garganera said yesterday that the administration of Mayor Tomas Osmeña has not zeroed in on the city’s urban flooding problem.

“The city government is not serious in solving the problem against flood. There’s no program to solve the flood,” he told reporters yesterday.

Floods reaching knee-high levels were experienced in the North Reclamation Area (NRA), D. Jakosalem St. and Colon St. — which Garganera labeled as the “oldest river in the Philippines”— among many other areas.

He pointed out the lack of specific and comprehensive programs by the city government to address the problem.

In fact, Garganera said, even the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has already allocated a P760-million budget for the waterways restoration of at least four major creeks in the city in order to mitigate flooding.

But he said that the city has not given its support to the project.

“The easement and relocation of those who will be affected should be borne out by the city. Our mayor does not have the political will to relocate those who are affected,” Garganera said.

He added that the mayor had earlier proposed a P10-million allocation under the city’s annual budget this year for the relocation of residents living in danger zones and the Cebu City Council even increased it to P100 million.

But still, he said nothing has been done.

“The mayor has no political will. The budget is there. But DPWH, inasmuch as they want to restore the waterways, the informal settlers are there. And with the informal settlers, we should relocate them where they are actually safer,” Garganera said.

In his press conference yesterday, Mayor Osmeña said the city is actually working on different programs to address the problem on flooding.

“The first priority is to clean up our drainage. We have to establish a system to clean up our drainage by giving them (people) sardines. A drainage project is very expensive,” he said.

The mayor was referring to the city’s “Basura Mo, Sardinas Ko” program where the city will give a can of sardines to residents who personally bring a plastic bag of garbage to compactor trucks that visit their barangay on schedule.

Right now, this program is being piloted in two barangays — Lahug and Cogon Pardo.

The mayor said this kind of program will encourage people to responsibly throw their garbage instead of just throwing it indiscriminately in rivers or creeks where it ends up clogging the city’s drainage system, causing floods.

Osmeña said the results of this program may not be immediately felt but he assured that within one year, results will already be observed.

When the executive department proposed its P7.2-billion annual budget proposal for 2017 last year, there was zero allocation for flood-control projects.

But back then, City Engineer Josefa Ylanan said that this does not mean there will be completely no drainage and anti-flood related projects that will be implemented by the city.

She said that there are P1.5 billion worth of drainage projects that have remained unimplemented under the city’s budget for 2015 and 2016. This is being used by the city to implement other drainage and anti-flood projects.

Ylanan added that these projects include declogging and desilting of creeks and rivers as well as drainage lines in the city, among others.

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