‘New water channel instead of enforcing easement law’
Mechelle P. Florita/RHM (The Freeman) - February 17, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines- Instead of strictly enforcing the easement requirement for waterways against violators, who include big establishments, the government would now construct new water channels to address the problem of flooding of Colon Street in Cebu City.

City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo yesterday said that based on his initial discussion with Department of Public Works and Highways officials, it was agreed that it is better to build huge canals to accommodate rainwater that causes the flooding.

“Sa among initial discusion sa DPWH it would appear nga naa lang tay alternate plan for the drainage,” he said.

He said that based on a DPWH-7 study, it would be very costly for the owners if they would remove parts of their structures that have encroached or are even built over the river in Colon Street.

He said that instead of directing the owners of establishments that violate the three-meter easement zone to destroy portions of their establishments, the government might as well build other water channels beneath the roads so no existing structures would be affected.

Just a few months ago, the city government called the attention of the owners of the establishments along Colon Street to remove their structures that encroached into the three-meter easement zone of Estero Parian.

Article 51 of Presidential Decree No. 1067 (The Water Code of the Philippines) states that “banks or rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, twenty meters in agricultural areas and forty meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing, and salvage.”

It added that “no person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing, or salvage or to build structures of any kind.” 

Castillo, though, said enforcing the said provision of the law is too costly, apparently for the establishment owners.

 “Dili man siya impossible but it’s too costly, it’s too difficult.  Madugay ta’g samot di ba, kaysa naay alternate solution.  Maghimo ta’g bag-ong waterways,” Castillo said.

“Pinakadako nga drainage system masudlan og awto. Naay dalan, ang sa ubos ang drainage system mora’g i-integrate sa ilawom sa dalan,” he added.

Castillo said it is also easier to clean or manage the huge water channels compared to the old canals we have now.

“Unya dali na nimo limpyohan dali na nimo ma manage kay bag-o man siya nga system kaysa anang mga na-clogged up na naa didto sa building.  Unsa man tabason nato ang building?” he said.

He said that while it is possible to destroy the offending structures, the new plan is more practical. He suggested that since their buildings would not be destroyed anymore, the owners of the concerned establishments could even contribute since the project requires a big amount for its budget.

Castillo said he is now just waiting for DPWH-7 to submit its final plan so the city could inform the establishment owners about the proposal.  (FREEMAN)

 

CEBU CITY CITY LEGAL OFFICER JERONE CASTILLO COLON STREET DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS DILI ESTERO PARIAN MADUGAY PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO WATER CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES
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