Cebu News

Due to right-of-way problem: DPWH-7 stops flood projects

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  At least two flood control projects which could have mitigated the flooding problem in Cebu City have been abandoned by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) due to problems in the road-right-of-way acquisition.

DPWH-7 project maintenance division head June dela Cruz said they were forced to stop the project after their request for funding for the acquisition of right of way was disapproved.

“Wala man na-approve among budget maong we have to temporarily pause the operation,” Dela Cruz told the members of the city’s Task Force Gubat sa Baha headed by former environment secretary Roy Cimatu.

The task force invited the DPWH-7 official to shed light on the unfinished projects in Barangay Tejero and Tagunol in Basak-Pardo that the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) blamed for the heavy flooding in these areas. 

According to dela Cruz, they requested for funding to acquire the private properties affected by the widening project of Tejero Creek and Tagunol River but their funding request was denied.

Property owners affected by the Tagunol River project had also filed a case in court prompting the DPWH to stop the project.

“We have already placed barriers at the side of the river to mitigate the flooding, but because of the court case we had to pause our operation as well,” dela Cruz added.

The absence of a relocation site for the illegal settlers along the river banks is also slowing down the DPWH in implementing the comprehensive drainage masterplan to address the flooding problem in the city.

“We have also struggled in the relocation sa mga illegal settlers in the area sab kay dili mi maka-proceed without providing a relocation,” Dela Cruz said.

Both the Tejero Creek and the Tagunol River are part of the 2017 comprehensive drainage masterplan of DPWH. Dela Cruz said they are aware of the concerns of the city government but they also have their own limitations.

Cimatu said they understand the situation and asked for each stakeholder to help solve the problem to move forward.

 “Now that we have understood this, let us help nalang each other so that we can move forward na,” said Cimatu.

On the other hand, lawyer Gerry Carillo, head of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CCDRRMC), suggested for the city government to pursue the construction of a “Container City” that would serve as temporary relocation for the informal settlers.

Carillo said the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) has P30 million allocated for middle-rise building that could be used to build the container city.

“There is an existing P30 million from DWUP which was intended for an MRB, maybe we can use that para while you are waiting for the approval for your ROW budget,” Carillo said.

Online Profiling

Meanwhile, an online portal had been set up by the Management Information and Computer Services (MICS) to help in the profiling of residents living within easement zones.

This will make it easier for the city government to store data of residents affected by the recovery of the three-meter easement.

Over 10 representatives from different City Hall departments underwent orientation and training on how to use the Socio-Eco Platform.

“Using this system, isulod nila ang data, kadtong nagpahigayon og profiling, diritso na sa system. At the same time, ma-tag ang location sa balay,”said Richter V. Castañares of MICS.—FPL (FREEMAN)

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