Cortes, Rama sign pact for rehab of 2 rivers
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — There was a need for the local governments of Mandaue and Cebu to collaborate in order to solve flooding problems affecting the two localities.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said several water bodies travers the two highly urbanized cities.
Water from the Butuanon and Mahiga Rivers flow downhill to Mandaue City on its way to the sea. Water in the two rivers also overflow when there is heavy downpour.
Because of this, Cortes said he entered into a Memorandum of Agreement called “Beyond Borders 1” with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on September 20 for a joint rehabilitation of the Butuanon and Mahiga Rivers.
Cortes, who addressed members of the Cebu Media during a gathering Wednesday night, Sept. 21, said he was grateful that Rama was supportive of their collaboration.
“Mao ni atoang purpose. Dili lang ta kutob sa pinirmahay. That is really the essence of the Beyond Borders nato. Unod ato nga ang pagtinabangay, nga ang atoang technical working groups ug drainage master plan ma-connect nato properly and efficiently,” said Cortes.
“Nagpasalamat ko nga si Mayor Mike ug ang counterpart nato sa city officials, mga empleyado sa gobyerno concerning ani’ng problema, drainage nga nakasabot gyud sila nga wee need to do somthing, we need to have a unified drainage masterplan,” he added.
Cortes said the “Beyond Borders” collaboration with Cebu City started in September 2022 shortly after the massive flooding that was experienced on September 9, 2022.
But what they signed then was a Memorandum of Understanding, which is a “non-binding” document, according to Archt. Aracelli Barlam, head of the Mandaue City Environmental and Natural Resources Office (MCENRO).
In the coming days, Cortes said he hopes to further expand their collaboration to include Talisay City in the south and Consolacion town in the north.
Cortes said that finding solutions to flooding problems and implementing these flood-control measures will take time and will require a lot of money.
But what matters is that initial steps are now being undertaken.
“Ang Mandaue naa na, muingun sila nga madala ba namo, madala ni pero dili diha-diha dayun, at least we are on the right track, dili ko moatras og challennge, this is a challenge, gibutang tas katawhan kay nisalig sila, dili na ko na talikdan,” he added.
Last Monday, Sept. 18, Mandaue City also conducted a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion with representatives of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to talk about the city’s flooding problem and identify possible solutions.
During their discussion, the group mentioned of the need to conduct dredging and desilting of the city’s manholes and drainage system and the demolition of houses that are erected within the three-meter easement zone.
“Together let us find solution, let us not focus on the problem nga kung makakita ta hilabihan’g grabeha mo-atras ta, dili ni nato talikdan, we will be here to help each other,” he said.
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