Subdivision residents say CDO city eng’r ignoring their flood control project

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 August)—Residents of a middle-class subdivision in Barangay Gusa are growing impatient over the City Engineer’s Office alleged inaction on their flood control project.

The Capistrano Complex Homeowners’ Association (Capcom) has opted to build its own flood control traps along the subdivision’s JR Borja Extension gate after discovering that the city’s road extension project “was declared finished without a drainage system.”

“Before JR Borja Extension Road was constructed…we at Capistrano Complex Subdivision never experienced waist-deep flooding even if we are situated between Gusa Creek and Dansoli Creek,” the association’s flood control project report reads.

The JR Borja Extension Road is located adjacent to the subdivision’s southern gate and is built on a higher slope of the barangay.

In her letter to city engineer Jorie Bingona dated July 5, Emma Rosa C. Ramos, of the board of directors of the association, appealed to Bingona to take action and not to “wait for a disaster to happen.”

“It’s been almost a year now since we first came to your office to discuss our flooding problem at Capistrano Complex Subdivision.  We expect that you will complete the open-earth canal soonest.  The rainy season is upon us again.  Please do not wait for a disaster to happen,” Ramos said.

“Our flood control project has been kept on hold, as we continue to try to locate two lot owners for their signatures on the ‘Right of Way’ consent letters, a requirement asked by the Mayor before the City Engineer could start digging the open-earth canal supposedly to connect our flood control trap at the JR Borja Extension gate to Gusa Creek,” Alonzo Chiong, Capcom Homeowners’ Association president stated in his “State of the Subdivision” report, dated July 11, 2011.

In her “Report on the flood control project of Capcom,” dated July 4, Ramos doubted the significance of the “required” consent letters in the construction of the open-earth canals.

“The construction of the JR Borja Extension Road surely must have incorporated in its plans a provision for a drainage system.  Why would it be necessary to get consent letters,” Ramos asked in her report.

“This requirement, clearly to us, is a ploy to delay construction of the open-earth canal, or a way to tire us out and lose interest,” she said.

In a phone call to Bingona’s office Wednesday, a certain Golda Obsioma said that Bingona was not in the office and that no one could comment about the issue as all their engineers were “on fieldwork.”

MindaNews tried to contact Bingona through his mobile phone Wednesday, but he did not reply nor return all text messages and calls.

With the rainy season coming in, Capcom homeowners are itching to fully implement their flood control project to avert a repeat of flashfloods in their subdivision.

Capistrano Complex was among subdivisions that were swamped in the flashfloods that hit the city in 2008 and 2009. The 2009 flashfloods smashed and broke the subdivision’s perimeter fence along Dansoli Creek.

Ramos said that when the 2009 flashfloods inundated their subdivision, they asked City Hall for help. She added that then city mayor Constantino Jaraula “left office without replying to our letters asking for assistance to dredge Gusa and Dansoli Creeks.”

“We were left to our own resources, and through donations we were able to repair our perimeter fence and had our drainage canals dredged manually,” she said.

The City Treasurer’s Office, for their part, declined to give details about the JR Borja road extension project.

“You’ll have to submit a formal written request addressed to the city treasurer (Lino Daral) because we have to clear requests like this to the mayor (Vicente Emano) before releasing any information,” said an employee who refused to give her name and flipped her ID when this reporter tried to read it.

It may be recalled that last June 17, during the visit of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo here, Emano declared in a radio interview that Cagayan de Oro is among the very first cities to implement the full disclosure policy.

“It might be even better if the policy included the cash advances of public officials,” Emano said. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)