Davao City lacks fund for improvement of drainage system

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 June) — With no funds yet for major construction works, Davao City will have to prioritize the removal of silt and wastes from canals to improve its drainage capacity, officials said.

“This is what we will prioritize while we still have no definite budget,” Roberto Alabado III, acting chief of the City Planning and Development Office, told Mindanews.

He said siltation has reduced the capacity of the drainage system to 50 percent.

The Urban Drainage Maintenance Division of the City Engineer’s Office has resorted to silt removal along with unclogging the canals of garbage and vegetation.

According to Allen Tibus, assistant chief of the division, heavy siltation can be found in many parts of the city’s waterways, where garbage has accumulated to form soil-like layers of silt and debris which are difficult to remove.

Tibus said that removing silt requires a big amount such as in Sasa where the estimated cost is P3 million.

She said siltation had not decreased because people kept throwing their garbage and even grills and tires into the canals.

The division has assigned 60 people to conduct daily maintenance of the drainage system starting last Feb. 17.

Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in the TV public affairs program “Ato ni Bay” held on June 21 that cleaning the drainage system is the only option available because necessary repairs were already done and major construction works would require big amounts.

“Our prayer is that the big canal in Roxas and Dacudao [Streets] would not give in,” he said.

He added people should be grateful the city is not hit by longer hours of rain which may cause rivers to overflow.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday said they will identify the priority drainage construction works in the master plan.

For the master drainage plan, Alabado said he is eyeing five construction projects to be implemented in the next few months, with a budget allocation of around P20 million. He declined to elaborate on the details such as location because the plan was not yet final.

“It’s not true that we do not have plans. We have a master plan that we are following right now. However it needs to be updated and that is our focus now,” he said, citing the present climate patterns and the lack of budget. (JB Tingzon/MindaNews)