178 areas in 41 Cebu City brgys. to be monitored

10/16/2010 - AT least 178 sites in 41 Cebu City barangays were identified as flood-prone, four of which are considered critical areas and will be watched when heavy rains hit Cebu this weekend.


Patrol boats, life vests, heavy equipment and rescue teams will be on standby at City Hall starting this morning, where Mayor Michael Rama has ordered the setting up of a command post.


Amid the preparations for typhoon Juan, the City Council deferred the approval of the resolution charging P4.77 million to the calamity funds, which is needed for the desilting of culverts and waterways in 10 barangays.


During its session yesterday, the council deferred the approval of the resolution because it lacked the necessary supporting documents, including the resolution of the Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Council (CCDCC) declaring a state of calamity.


Alvin Santillana, CCDCC action officer, said yesterday they are monitoring 178 flood-prone areas in the city.


Of the number, four are critical areas, where floodwater reaches several feet.


“That's why we are preparing our rescue boats just in case the floodwater reaches a level where people can be trapped and have to be rescued, we are ready to respond. Our command center will be operational even before the typhoon hits us. We will be ready to deploy our rescue team anytime,” Santillana said.


Master plan


Personnel from the Cebu City Police Office, Bureau of Fire Protection, Parks and Playgrounds Commission, Department of Engineering and Public Works and the Department of Public Services will be on standby starting 7 a.m. today.


In his news conference yesterday, Rama said flood mitigation and drainage improvement will be funded in the next supplemental budget. Some P30 million has been earmarked for it.


He said, though, that all the projects recommended in the City's Comprehensive Drainage Master Plan, which costs P553 million, cannot be funded yet and will have to be implemented phase by phase.


Councilor Jose Daluz III, chairman of the City Council committee on budget and finance, said most of the P381 million in barangay infrastructure projects funded in this year's third supplemental budget were also earmarked for flood-mitigation projects.


These include the construction of lined canals, riprap works and drainage projects.


“Once these are fully implemented, we can expect the flooding to lessen because these are projects identified by the barangays themselves. Our assumption is that the projects they proposed are for the problematic areas in their barangays,” Daluz said.


Meanwhile, the Cebu Provincial Government is preparing for the effects of the La Niña phenomenon.


Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the Provincial Social Welfare Office is ready to provide food and supplies while the health department has prepared medical supplies.


The Provincial Engineer’s Office has prepared equipment to address any disaster.


She also advised the relocation of families living in the coastal and other high-risk areas.


She also said she will be willing to help residents in Cebu City who will be affected by this phenomenon if they ask for help.


Office of the Civil Defense Coordinator Estrellita Escañan went to see the governor yesterday to inform her of the new law on the use of calamity funds.


She also presented a resolution sponsored by Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy requesting the governor to convene the Cebu Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council to address the ill effects of La Niña.


Garcia said she will call a meeting with legal and budget officials regarding the new law.


She said Sitoy need not pass a resolution asking her to convene the council because the Local Government Code lists this among the local executive’s functions.
(Sun Star)

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