Editorial: Mananga river as water park

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Friday, July 11, 2014

TALISAY City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes is in his element again. After fielding a bus to ferry hitchhikers from Talisay City to Cebu City and vice-versa along the Cebu South Coastal Road, JVR has come up with another interesting idea, which is to transform the end stretch of the Mananga river into a water park.

The mayor’s proposal goes this way: the mouth of the river, measured at four meters in width, will be dredged, allowing seawater to fill the stretch’s floor and merge with the fresh water from the hinterlands. This would create a body of water that will be opened for recreational swimming, water sports and ferry services.

The proposal is rough and critics can punch holes into it. Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas, who is representing the first district where Talisay City belongs, called for a study.


And he was right about safety concerns because of the unpredictability of the river’s flow in the past.

Sun.Star Cebu editorial cartoon - Mananga River as water park
(Editorial cartoon by Josua Cabrera of Sun.Star Cebu)

Indeed, Mananga was once a “killer” river until the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) dammed its path in the Barangay Jaclupan area a kilometer or so inland. Water flow now becomes a trickle in the river’s end stretch, especially during the dry season. But that does not mean the JVR proposal is without safety issues.

Besides, if attracting people is the goal, JVR can instead focus on finding ways to inject life into his city’s dying shoreline. Talisay’s beaches used to be a popular destination until neglect and urban blight killed the once-thriving resorts business there.

It’s not that JVR should not be commended for trying. At least he has presented a plan to rehabilitate the Mananga river, whose deterioration has become palpable. The river just didn’t concern the city’s previous mayors.

Sand and gravel hauling remains a problem there and structures are creeping into its banks. Garbage has piled up, especially in stretches that pass through populated areas.

But JVR is headed in the right direction. He should be urged to push his idea forward and refine it by accepting inputs from experts. Then he should proceed to the implementation stage.

Rehabilitating and developing Mananga river can be a JVR legacy.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 12, 2014.


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