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Cebu News

Rama wants bridge dwellers out human wastes delay clean-up

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is now more determined to get rid of the dwellers under bridges after recent clean-up operations exposed the presence of human wastes near waterways.

Speaking to reporters, Rama said he has long wanted to have them out of those areas as their presence poses risk for those living near these places.

Rama recently got a feedback that about dwellers under the bridges where human and domestic wastes are rampant. In fact, the presence of such wastes hampered the clean-up activity last Saturday.

The mayor has ordered taking the dwellers out as soon as possible.

“Tanang naa sa bridge, that has already to be taken out from there. Because sigeg reklamo, sige tag limpyo unya ang mga wastes tua pa sa ubos sa tulay, adto didto,” Rama said.

Rama said he also discussed this matter with his environment consultant and Task Force Gubat sa Baha chief, former Environment secretary Roy Cimatu.

Cimatu earlier said they are currently prioritizing establishments that were found to have built structures that directly block the waterways before dealing with those living within the three-meter easement.

Cimatu said they cannot get these dwellers out without relocation sites for them.

But with the mayor's directive to clear those living under the bridges, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office head Harold Alcontin told The Freeman that he will ask the river commanders under Task Force Gubat sa Baha to do an inventory of the actual number of individuals living under the bridges, together with their personnel and the PROBE team.

“Amo silang i-ask to do inventory of the bridges nga naay mga dwellers… Once maka-come up na ta ana, then focus na ta sa plan, unsaon nato na sila, being the subject for demolition kung asa nato sila ibutang and kung naa man gani financial assistance, apiil pud na,” said Alcontin.

Alcontin emphasized that clearing operations schedules will be set only after the inventory and relocation are already in place.

“Actually, ingon siya (Mayor Rama) nga immediately, but dili man gyud na nato pwede buhaton dayon kay asa man nato na sila ipamutang? We have to do the process usa,” said Alcontin.

Alcontin said they are also careful with their move to ensure that they also follow what is stated under the Republic Act 7279. The law provides for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program and establish mechanisms for its implementation and other purposes.

“Kasabot ra man si Mayor ana. Although, I received the instruction from him, we also have to undergo the process,” Alcontin said.

Rama also reiterated to City Health Department head Dr. Daisy Villa to intensify the program on zero open defecation following the feedback on human waste thrown in the rivers as noted during the last clean-up.

Out of the 80 barangays in Cebu City, only Cogon-Ramos has been able to achieve zero open defecation.

“Ang sa kang Daisy (Villa), ang iyahang challenge, wala na gyuy mugawas sa lubot nga muabot sa sapa or anywhere else,” said Rama.

Meanwhile, the last city-wide clean-up drive this year collected a total of 137 tons of garbage as reported by the Department of Public Services and the Department of Works and Highways.

Reymarr Hijara, executive director of the Solid Waste Management Board, however, said 40% of it was mud, 30% was biodegradable, 20% was plastic, and 10% others. – JMD (FREEMAN)

MICHAEL RAMA

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