Editorial: After the heavy downpour

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

NO TYPHOON visited the country last Thursday, although local Pagasa people did issue a rainfall alert. The rain did fall, this time in torrents and with a volume that caused flooding in many areas, including streets, the overflowing of rivers and landslides.

For a while, officials of local government units--especially in the island’s main urban center straddling the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay--seemed contented with what they have been doing to mitigate flooding in their jurisdictions.

An exceptionally heavy downpour had to fall to show them that their efforts just weren’t enough.


Incidentally, the rain came after Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza updated their constituents on the status of their respective areas of responsibility. Their speeches included updates on their efforts to solve the problem of flooding, like spending money to improve inadequate drainage systems.

In Cebu City, the clearing of waterways has become just one of the concerns of Mayor Michael Rama. The past months saw him concentrating more on the rebuilding of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), an effort that even prompted him to leave the reins of the city government to Vice Mayor Edgar Labella while he went to the United States to become a “professional beggar” of funds for the new hospital’s construction.

To be fair, a drainage and storm water catchment system was mentioned when the Cebu City Council discussed the resolution that allowed the mayor to sell South Road Properties (SRP) lots. Meaning that solving the flooding problem is still a major concern for city officials.

But before this recent episode of flooding, the Cebu City Government seems to have lost track of its priorities. An example: Project Redz (Reduction of Danger Zones), which was launched with much fanfare after Rama won a second term as mayor last year, seems to be already in limbo.

With the flooding last Thursday, officials of the concerned Metro Cebu cities will once more put efforts to solve the problem on top of their totem pole of priorities. But this should no longer be a ningas cogon thing or, to put it differently, should no longer hew to the “motulo ra bitaw na’g mag-uwan” principle.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.


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