Cebu News

3-meter easement restored upstream of Kinalumsan River

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City government has extended downstream the clearing operations at Kinalumsan River after the three-meter easement upstream has been restored.

Councilor Jerry Guardo said the city’s long-time problem of informal settlers in the upstream portion of the river is now over.

Over 200 families leaving along the riverbanks upstream and over 500 families downstream were affected by the clearing operation. Guardo said it took time for the city government to demolish the illegal structures because of the stay-at-home policy at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said some of the families who were already given financial assistance to relocate did not leave the area.

The recent massive flooding prompted Mayor Michael Rama to order the clearing and relocate the affected residents.

“Now, naa na ta sa C. Padilla padong na sad na sa boundary sa Tejero, Duljo-Fatima and Mambaling,” Guardo said.

Before the mayor left Manila to attend to some official business, he personally checked the area along with Guardo and representatives from the other departments.

“We had a walk-thru with the Mayor earlier and ang iya gyung marching order from the Mayor nga we really have to enforce gyud the clearing operation,” Guardo said.

According to Guardo, the area has to be cleared since it is now considered highly critical.

“Danger zone na gyud na area…Sa among walk-thru, naa koy mga na-interview, na-trap gyud sila sa kakusog sa baha, mao to’ng naay naanod…Imagine taga liog na ang baha nila?” said Guardo.

At the height of the heavy downpour last week that caused massive flooding in at least 60 percent of the barangays of the city, six houses along the Kinalumsan riverbanks were swept away by the strong current. The affected residents fortunately survived.

Barbed wires are now being installed in the area to prevent illegal settlers from returning.

For the downstream area, it was learned that most of the affected families already got their financial assistance but around half of them refused to voluntarily vacate the place.

The continued presence of these illegal structures is causing so much delay to flood control projects both from the national and local governments.

With Rama’s order to clear the three-meter easement, Guardo has advised all the residents in the area to voluntarily leave the place and not to wait for the demolition team to demolish their houses.

“The instruction of the Mayor was very clear…to have all rivers and all natural ways of water be free from these structures…So kung nasud mo within the waterway, and nakabalo naman gyud mo, might as well, manghawa na lang gyud ahead para maka salvage pa mo sa inyong properties,” said Guardo.

Those that have not yet received their financial assistance are offered temporary relocation, especially those who opt for financial assistance instead of a permanent relocation. —Decemay Padilla/FPL (FREEMAN)


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