CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 December) — A year after storm “Sendong” struck this city, residents living in the hazard-prone areas beside the Cagayan de Oro River are still at risk from flash floods because police have yet to fully implement the order of President Aquino to evict them.
Raoul Geollogue, a former regional executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a press conference here that typhoon “Pablo” proved that the areas identified by President Aquino are really prone to flash floods.
“The police should not pay lip service to the order of President Aquino. When Pablo struck, the same areas were inundated by the flash flood. It is the same thing that happened during Sendong,” Geollogue said.
Days after Sendong struck last Dec. 17, 2011, President Aquino ordered the police not to allow residents and informal settlers to settle in Isla de Oro, Isla Bugnaw, Cala-cala, parts of Barangay Macasandig and Barangay Carmen.
Most of the 714 Cagayan de Oro residents who died during Sendong have lived in these places like these were small low-cost subdivisions and housing projects.
Many of them have returned to live there after police turned a blind eye on the situation.
Last week, Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas reiterated the president’s order to PNP Region 10 Director Gil J. Hitosis during his visit here after typhoon Pablo laid to waste some towns in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
“Your career is hanging on the balance. You have to implement this order even if it means you transfer your office beside the river,” Roxas told Hitosis during a meeting.
Geollogue, who now works as an environment consultant, said Pablo vindicated the president’s order to evict the residents.
He said flood waters that rushed from the mountains after typhoon Pablo passed through northern Mindanao went on to inundate the same areas.
“The flood waters affected the same areas. Had there been no preemptive evacuation, many of the residents would be in harm’s way again,” Geollegue said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)