Rama wants drainage project; Osmeña seeks other solutionsBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
Flooding problems in Cebu City recur due to lack of drainage outlets but having a good sewer system is not enough to solve the problem, said south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña.
What is more important is to reduce runoff from the mountains or rainwater flowing downhill to urban barangays.
“Water has to go out. It does not go back to the sky. Where does it go? That’s the problem,” said Osmeña.
Mayor Michael Rama said that he wanted a P2.4 billion updated comprehensive drainage master plan funded in the 2013 annual budget.
He said that massive flooding that affected Cebu in the last few days underscored the need for massive drainage improvement.
Osmeña disagreed, saying the city government can adopt a “much cheaper alternative” like the Burgos Circle water impoundment in the Fort, Taguig.
Large underground storage cisterns were built beneath the Burgos Circle in the Fort to hold water every time it rains then slowly release the rainwater into the sea.
This example of private sector infrastructure designed with foresight amid Manila’s perennial flooding was recently cited after the deluge that swamped almost half of Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon last month.
Osmeña said a similar approach is being planned for various parts of Manila.
He said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson already sent a consultant earlier to determine the viability of a water impounding area under roads in Cebu CIty like a portion of N. Bacalso Avenue in Basak Pardo.
But the plan was temporarily put on hold because DPWH wanted to first work on water impounding areas planned for Manila. The Cebu project could follow later, said Osmeña.
Builing water impounding areas under roads is a cheaper alternative, he said, since the government no longer has to spend for road right of way.
Another option, he said, is to build a man-made river like the ones in Holland where the government started a river project that would intercept flood water before it could reach Holland.
Osmeña said that when he visited Holland years ago, he went on a cruise on their man-made river.
He said that if a rainwater barrier is placed in development sites in barangays Tisa and Labangon, this would prevent flooding especially in the nearby Mambaling area.
“All Cebu City mayors including me had the wrong approach in addressing the flooding problems because we treated drainage concerns in isolation,” he said.
During his term as mayor, Osmeña pushed for building small earth dams or gabion dams in the mountains to slow down water runoff. /with reports from Tweeny M. Malinao