Collaboration and partnership
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Problems are interlinked and can be addressed best with collaboration and partnership. The issues of flooding, drainage, and waste, for example, extend across towns and cities.

When heavy rains fall in Talamban, Cebu City, many portions get flooded, including the lower portions of Cabangcalan in Mandaue City, because of poor and uncoordinated drainage system.

Many new structures and buildings have been allowed to be built and constructed in higher portions of Talamban but these new infrastructures did not have the corresponding effective drainage system to allow the water to flow out smoothly to wider and secure drainage outlets!

With problematic drainage system in Talamban and no secure, sustainable outlet for rainwater, floods have become frequent and common, delaying traffic, affecting transport and commuters, businesses, and more.

Added to floods and poor drainage is the improper disposal of waste which clog so many drainage outlets and canals! Plastics, wrappers, other irresponsibly-disposed-of waste travel from one city to another. Waste even ends up in seas and oceans, damaging so much precious marine resources of our threatened planet!

Floods, poor drainage, waste, and other forms of disasters also affect traffic not only in one city. Remember how the Apas fire stalled traffic in several cities and municipalities? Disaster management also needs inter-local government coordination and partnership.

These persistent problems of flood, poor drainage, irresponsible waste disposal, traffic and disaster management need a new approach, a new form of resolution. To address these persistent challenges, there is a need to shift from previously tried and unsuccessful measures. Instead of one city or community confronting these problems, it is timely to try a new path - that of collaborative partnership among local officials.

It is very heartening to read the news about the mayors of Cebu, Mandaue, and Talisay considering an “inter-city” approach to solve these problems. Padayon, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Talisay City Mayor Samsam Gullas, and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes!

Harnessing the combined resources and initiatives of these three cities, in full partnership and collaboration, can go a long way towards the effective resolution of the so-called “Metro woes.” Definitely, this new united approach is worth trying as past measures have so far not resolutely and effectively solved the metro woes at all.

We also appreciate the timely call by Cebu City Councilor Antonio Cuenco to examine the drainage masterplan of the city to proactively prepare for and prevent flooding problems in lowland barangays. Councilor Cuenco can coordinate and partner with the three city mayors to more comprehensively resolve the problem of flooding.

Certainly, addressing the flood and drainage problem will entail a huge budget but one that is necessary given the more expensive adverse impacts these problems bring to people and communities. We hope the Cebu City Council will prioritize the comprehensive solution to the problems of flood, waste disposal, and drainage at the soonest time possible.

We also look forward to the new Cebu City Council enforcing strict compliance with City Ordinance 1711 requiring building owners to have rainwater catchments in their structures. Former councilors Jesse Aznar, Felixberto Rosito, and Gabriel Leyson, authors of this ordinance, explained that “rainwater catchment should be required to conserve potable water and also to help minimize flooding.”

This Cebu City ordinance was enacted and signed into law by former mayor Alvin Garcia in February 1998 and is also in keeping with Republic Act 6716 or the Rainwater Collector and Springs Development Law.

I am looking forward to the success of resolute, collaborative partnership in addressing the metro problems of flood, drainage, irresponsible waste disposal, and traffic and disaster management!

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