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Editorial

Why build near a river?

/ 06:25 AM July 22, 2011

It’s still a proposal but there is one good reason 100 Talisay City tricycle drivers are protesting the city government’s move to relocate their parking lot near the new Talisay City market project.

Mario Meñamen, vice president of the drivers’ association, had a point when he said the parking lot is unsafe because it’s located near the Mananga River. The crazy weather being experienced by the country and the rest of the world supports the association’s collective belief that the lot is flood-prone.

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If Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez had seen Wednesday evening’s flood that struck Metro Cebu, he would have a good idea of what a downpour would do to the new market area, including the proposed parking lot.

If Fernandez still isn’t convinced about the link between flooding and building infrastructure near a river, maybe he can take a page from Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who’s clearing the shanties around Mahiga Creek—though he had to be reminded about the relocation of settlers by the City Council.

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They may not be engineering or weather experts but market vendors and the tricycle drivers found common cause when they said the parking lot and, for that matter, the new market site isn’t the ideal place for them to earn a decent livelihood.

Take it from fruit vendor Josephine Gabriana, who recounted how the Mananga Bridge was nearly destroyed when the river overflowed during typhoon Ruping in 1990.

Now that abnormal rainfall has become the norm due to climate change, what’s to prevent the parking lot and the new market site from being flooded, inconveniencing not only vendors and drivers but also their customers?

A court case on the transfer of the vendors to the Talisay City market is still pending. But based on the complaints of the vendors, stallholders and now the tricycle drivers, consultations were not made or not enough with the affected sectors.

Since Mayor Fernandez has already been spared the trouble of having to deal with his errant adopted son Joavan, maybe he has time now to heed the plea of vendors and drivers.

Then again, with his patron Rep. Eduardo Gullas of Cebu’s 1st district behind his back, Fernandez may just ignore the clamor and and push ahead with the market project.

Vendors have suggested using the market building for another purpose so it doesn’t end up abandoned like a white elephant.

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It’s worth discussing.

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TAGS: Local authorities, Local Governments, Mayor Socrates Fernandez, Talisay City, tricycle drivers
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