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Cebu City officials to DPWH-7: Fix Mambaling underpass flooding

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | March 31,2021 - 08:23 PM

Rainwater flooded the Mambaling underpass rendering it impassable following Wednesday’s (March 31, 2021) early morning downpour. | Photo Courtesy of LTO-7 Director Victor Caindec

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City officials are calling on the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) to fix the Mambaling underpass after it was flooded on the morning of Holy Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

The underpass was closed due to the flood, but the water subsided around 11:30 a.m. rendering it passable again.

READ: Heavy rain makes Mambaling Underpass ‘canal-like’

Cebu City Second District Representative Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa, who pushed for the multimillion project in the Congress, said that the underpass has never been flooded as much as it had been now.

He told CDN Digital that the underpass is equipped with four pumps that would prevent the accumulation of rainwater in the depressing road.

However, he said under the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella and his allies in the City Council, diversion pipes were built to channel floodwater from the Natalio Bacalso Avenue to the underpass, causing the flood on Wednesday.

“We should ask the current administration including City Councilor Edu (Eduardo Jr.) Rama why they are causing the diversion of floodwaters in the upper street level into the underpass through a number of big pipes on the walls of the underpass.”

“This is the main cause of flooding, that subsides though after a while due to the pumping station at the underpass,” said Abellanosa in a text message.

The flooding caused traffic jams in the area as both northbound and southbound vehicles could not access the tunnel.

For his part, Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr. said the council had no hand in the pipes because they were not engineers.

He said that the DPWH-7 installed those pipes in response to the flooding at Natalio Bacalso Avenue in the past year since the underpass opened.

READ: DPWH urged: Widen drainage along Mambaling Underpass

The council has repeatedly called the DPWH-7 to solve the flooding problem at the national highway, which became a problem only after the underpass was built.

DPWH-7 officials have not responded to queries from CDN Digital but in previous talks with the City Engineering Office, the two agencies have discussed the possibility of channeling floodwater from the highway down to the underpass.

None of the agencies has confirmed that this was the purpose of the pipes.

Rama said the DPWH has to solve this problem as flooding cannot be present above or below the underpass.

He also criticized Abellanosa for pointing fingers at him and the council instead of seeking solutions for the problem.

“That’s a total lie, please lang Congressman Bebot, look for a solution. Control the flood in the area, tagai og solution,” he said.

He noted that Abellanosa’s plan for the underpass was for it to become a smart tunnel that was supposed to catch water in cisterns that would be the size of 10 Olympic swimming pools, but this was never realized.

Instead, the area has suffered more than a year of flooding after the underpass opened.

“I am appealing to the DPWH, they have to find a solution for flood control. Ayaw ipabaha ang taas, ayaw sad mabaha ang tunnel,” he said.

The DPWH-7 has explained through Councilor Jerry Guardo that the pumps in the underpass were not broken, but simply could not hold the volume of the water.

It took at least two hours for the flood to subside. /rcg

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TAGS: Cebu City, flooding, heavy downpour, MAMBALING UNDERPASS

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