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Cebu News

During Rama’s previous term as Mayor: Drainage got P1.3 billion

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
During Ramaâs previous term as Mayor: Drainage got P1.3 billion
Pedestrians and commuters are stranded due to flooded streets in Cebu City. Despite having allocated 20 percent of the annual budget every year as development funds, the city failed to solve the problem.
FILE

CEBU, Philippines —  Up to P1.3 billion was allocated for work on Cebu City’s drainage systems in 2015 during the previous term of Mayor Michael Rama but this project never materialized.

The P1.3 billion is part of the P4.5 billion allocated for numerous projects, said City Budget Officer Mariette Gumia.

“Atong 2015, P4.5 billion ana, ang naa sa mga proyekto… apil na ana ang sa atong drainage nga P1.3 billion nga karon wala pa gyud naklaro ang iyang implementation,” Gumia said in a press conference with members of the Local Finance Committee (LFC).

The projects were pushed during Rama’s last year as mayor but leadership in the city changed in 2016 when Rama lost to former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the City Council committee on infrastructure, said that if implemented, the project would have benefitted the city, considering the persistent problem of flooding during a downpour.

Evening on August 4, 2022, up to 60 percent of Cebu City experienced flooding when heavy rains persisted for hours. Several houses along a river were also washed away.

Based on records available on the Cebu City government’s website, close to P100 million has been realigned for flood control projects through a supplemental budget – P10 million in 2010, P35 million in 2012, and P48 million in 2014.

Revisit

What happened to the drainage project?

The LFC recommended that the city revisits previous projects to find out and, if possible, defund some of them to save funds so that money can be utilized for other important projects.

Guardo, along with the city planning office, is pushing for guidelines in the prioritization of projects of the city government.

Guardo said 20 percent of the annual budget – around P400 to P500 million a year – is being set aside for local development projects and no specific amount is set aside for flood control projects.

With the pressing problem of flooding in the city, Guardo said it is best to have guidelines so that flood control projects in the barangays can also be prioritized.

“Ang nahitabo man gud kay depende lang kung unsay i-submit sa barangay… mura’g first come first served… walay clear-cut nga guidelines,” Guardo said.

Meanwhile, Rama met with the new Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-7 Director Ernesto Gregorio Jr. to ask for help on the city’s drainage system. He also asked for the strict implementation of a three-meter easement for rivers and other waterways, according to a report by the city’s public information office. – JMO (FREEMAN)

FLOOD

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