GenSan to tap experts from MSU to solve flooding

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 August) — In a bid to resolve the city’s flooding problems, a city council member here has proposed for the conduct of extensive studies on the area’s drainage systems by experts from the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus here.

City Councilor Rosalita Nuñez, chair of the city council’s committee on city land use, urban planning and development, said Tuesday the state-run university has a pool of environment and urban planning experts that could help the city government effectively address the perennial flooding in some parts of the area during the rainy season.

She said the university could specifically assist the city in drawing up sustainable management strategies on the problem by way of extensive studies, researches, data gathering and analysis.

“A lasting and fast solution to the city’s flooding problem indispensably requires the aid of such knowledgeable entity. Its recommendations for a sustainable drainage system and other proactive schemes shall be incorporated in the existing flood management strategy of the city,” Nuñez said.

To expedite the move, Nuñez filed a proposed resolution during the council’s regular session requesting MSU General Santos to look into the perennial flooding in various parts of the city during the rainy season and recommend possible solutions to the problem.

The measure was referred to the city council’s committee on city land use, urban planning and development for further studies and consultations.

Nuñez, who is a former city mayor, said an earlier assessment showed that the advent of increased urbanization and inadequacy of drainage facilities in the city, aside from climate change and high rainfall volume, caused the city’s flooding problems.

“It has interfered with the economic use of lands in the farming sector, destroyed structures like bridges within floodways and affected traffic flows in lowly-elevated roadways of the city,” she noted.

The official said the problem, if not effectively addressed, could cause more significant damages to properties, further endanger the lives of local residents and eventually hamper the city’s economic activities.

“The effect of the floods within the city’s jurisdiction may seem trivial as tasked government agencies just perform the usual repertoire of doing social works but in reality, however, it actually inflicts financial losses considering the thousands and millions of pesos spent by the city government virtually every year in aiding the flood victims,” she added.

Last month, 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 mainly affected communities near the banks of the Silway River, which flows to Sarangani Bay and serves as the main outlet of several river-tributaries from the upland areas in nearby South Cotabato province.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera earlier said the local government had initiated negotiations with urban planners for a study and development of a comprehensive drainage system for the city.

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

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. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)