Ramas vs Abellanosa: Who is to blame for flooding in Basak San Nicolas?
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama and Councilor Eduardo “Edu” Rama Jr. are pointing at the Mambaling underpass project as the cause of the flooding in Barangay Basak San Nicolas because of misplanning of the project.
They said this during the citizen’s hour of the City Council’s regular session after the Department of Public Works and Highways Central Visayas (DPWH-7) Regional Director Edgar Tabacon presented the agency’s plans on the flooding in the area.
Tabacon, who only became the regional director in 2018 and who was not involved in the planning of the underpass, said that originally, the widening of the service roads should have been done before the actual underpass.
The expansion of the service roads would have also expanded the drainage and would have prevented the flooding in the past two years.
Still, the DPWH is already working on this expansion, which has only been delayed due to the road right of way problems. The council has also repeatedly blocked the cutting of trees in the area, which further delayed the expansion of the service roads.
“Sipyat gyod lagi ni nga project pagsugod pa lang daan. Ang lugar nga walay baha, nagkabaha na karon. (The project is a failure from the start. An area that did not use to have flooding, now has flooding),” said Vice Mayor Rama.
Councilor Edu said that the flooding problem in the area has become worse, and it has seriously affected the lives of the residents.
He blamed South District Representative Rodrigo Abellanosa, who pioneered the project in Congress, for the multimillion project that he said only caused more problems than solutions.
“Wala man gyoy problema dinhang dapita sa una, nganong gibuhatan pa man og underpass? (There was no traffic problem in that area before, why did they build an underpass?)” asked Councilor Rama.
The councilor said that if only Abellanosa stuck to his promise of providing better drainage for the area before pushing through with the Mambaling underpass, the flooding would not have become a problem now.
Scapegoat for the Ramas
For Abellanosa’s part, he said that the two Ramas were only pointing their fingers at him over the flooding issue when the council itself had contributed to the delay.
“The Ramas are just making it as an excuse and as a scapegoat for the regular heavy flooding in their very own barangay of Basak San Nicolas as if the underpass has caused it. In fact the underpass itself has never been flooded even in very heavy rains because it includes a mechanical system that transfers water out of it into the drainage system,.”
Abellanosa noted that the canals in the area only get flooded during heavy rain and mostly caused by garbage and debris blocking the flow of water.
However, on September 10, 2020, images of heavy flooding despite moderate rains became viral drawing the attention to the unresolved drainage problems at the Mambaling Underpass sideroads.
Abellanosa said that as the South District Representative he had fought for the district’s DPWH budget repeatedly over the years including the allocation of P5 million per barangay every year for drainage projects.
In the recent plenary debate for the 2021 national budget, Abellanosa also asked for an additional P1.5 billion budget for the South District simply to address flooding.
“My question to the Ramas is why are they singling out the underpass when the entire city is regularly flooded as we have recently experienced? What have they done to mitigate this worsening flood situation in the city?” congressman asked.
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