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Cebu News

Fix easement at waterways

Shaina Fame Marie P. Mabatid - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has ordered immediate clearing operations to implement the three-meter easement in waterways following continuous downpour on August 4, 2022 that flooded 60 percent of the city and caused rivers to overflow.

Among the rivers that overflowed was the Kinalumsan River where two people were swept away by floodwaters, one of whom was even believed to be dead, initially. He was rescued eventually and was given medical attention.

In a Zoom meeting with key city personnel, Rama learned that houses along the Kinalumsan River may now be demolished so pave way for the three-meter easement because the city government has already paid the owners with funds downloaded from the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Residents living in danger zones were made to choose between moving to a relocation site the city has identified or receiving financial aid that can help them relocate.

Rama has instructed the city’s Prevention Restoration Beautification and Enhancement (PROBE) team to demolish remaining structures along the river so that no one will continue to live there and put their lives in danger each time it rains hard.

During the downpour on Thursday, several houses were swept away by raging floodwaters.

“The word is aggressive. Ready ta nga mapriso aron maluwas ang mga tawo kaysa mapriso ta kay nangawat ta. Again, willing ta nga mangapriso kay giluwas ang mga tawo. Bisan ako lang ang naa sa prisohan,” Rama said.

“Ang atong hunahunaon gyud nga dili ta mangabiktima, kay naapil ta, lakip ang inyong mayor, kay wala trabahoa. Mao na karon ang atong direksyon,” he added.

Rama said he will draft an executive order to formalize his directive.

“Before the executive order, my directive, which is a verbal order, ang implementer, overall, is Gerry Carillo. Ang sa south si Gerry, sa north, si Kelly Quijada. Ako na ihan-ay sa osa ka executive order,” Rama said.

Rama is working from home at the moment as he is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic.

For residents who may be displaced, Rama said they can be accommodated at schools while the city is building temporary shelters at the South Road Properties. The city will use container vans to build the shelters similar to the set-up of the Devotee City during the Sinulog.

“They will be placed in the school and then they will be transferred to the SRP. And when you are putting up at the SRP, see to it that the medium-rise buildings are also being built. That is what we are leading to,” Rama said.

He directed department heads to move swiftly since emergencies call for immediate action.

Meanwhile, the city has fielded its drainage and asphalting teams under the office of the city engineer to do clean-up as mitigating action following the flooding.

City Engineer Kenneth Enriquez said she has also sent representatives from the construction and planning division to inspect flood-prone areas and suggest long-term solutions. /JMO (FREEMAN)

MICHAEL RAMA

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