GenSan eyes flood control measures

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (Misamis Oriental/23 July) — The city government is set to commission an extensive study on the city’s waterways and drainage channels in a bid to resolve the perennial flooding in several villages in the area.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the local government is presently negotiating with some urban planners for the implementation of the study, which will mainly focus on the development of a comprehensive drainage system for the city.

“We will study all our existing channels and eventually create a blueprint for a complete drainage system,” he said.

The mayor said the study will cover barangays and communities traversed by various waterways that have experienced severe flooding during the rainy season.

He said the move also forms part of the ongoing review of the city’s disaster risk reduction and management plan.

“We’re revisiting all these plans and strategies so we can come up with more proactive solutions to the problem,” Rivera said in a radio interview.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 earlier identified barangays Baluan, Buayan, Bula, Calumpang, Siguel, Lagao and Sinawal as high-risk to flooding.

The seven villages were among the 340 communities in Region 12 that were found to be highly vulnerable and will likely become “uninhabitable” during floods.

MGB said most of these areas are part of a flood plain and are vulnerable to heavy flooding after just two to three hours of rains fur to the lack of substantial storm drainage.

Other areas in the city that are considered as flood-prone are barangays City Heights, Apopong, Labangal, Dadiangas North and Dadiangas West.

Over the weekend, around 290 families were affected by severe floods that swept portions of Purok Kindat and Purok Bulaong Extension in Barangay Labangal and Purok Silway Fatima in Barangay Dadiangas West.

The floods were caused by hours of torrential rains spawned by the prevailing Intertropical Convergence Zone.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a total of 34 families have evacuated as a result of the floods, which mainly affected communities near the banks of the Silway River.

Silway River, which flows to Sarangani Bay, is the main outlet of several river-tributaries from the upland areas in nearby South Cotabato province.

Rivera acknowledged that the local government could not pursue substantial “engineering interventions” at the moment due to their huge budgetary requirements and with the review of the city’s disaster management plan still ongoing.

But he said they are looking at addressing the flood evacuations by establishing permanent relocation sites for the affected residents.

“Our priority is to clear these flood-prone areas along the banks of the Silway River of residents and relocate them,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)