By LITO RULONA
COUNCILOR Teodulfo Lao Jr. on Monday called on the city council to summon public works officials in northern Mindanao so the city legislature could be enlightened on the no-build zone rule pertaining to its mega dike project — and on the status of the construction project itself.
Lao said there is a need for the Department of Public Works and Highways to shed light on the no-build zone order made by the then President Aquino in the aftermath of the storm “Sendong” devastation in 2011.
On Monday, Lao said Mayor Oscar Moreno pointed out that the no-build zone areas would not be determined until the DPWH completes the mega dike project which is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
“In other words, the no-build zone can only be determined only by the DPWH upon the resumption and completion of the mega dike project… Sila ra mismo ang maka-determine kung asa ang affected areas,” Lao said.
Meanwhile, Councilor Reuben Daba called on the environment department to exempt some areas near the banks of Cagayan River from the no-build zone rule so that the government could build public facilities on these areas. But he said the areas cannot be used to build residences.
Daba said the national government and local government should be able to construct facilities like barangay halls, health centers, sports centers, multipurpose halls, parks, and promenades, among others, in areas near the river or, specifically, on both banks of the Cagayan River stretching from Isla Bacsan and its parallel side in Carmen and all the way to the rotunda.
He said Article 51 of Presidential Decree 1067 provides that the banks of rivers within a zone of three meters along its margins are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and salvage.
Daba said these areas designated as no-build zones in law because these are low-lying and susceptible to floodings.
But after “Sendong,” Daba said, “we have put up flood control and mitigating measures which explains the ongoing construction of parallel dikes in both banks of the Cagayan River starting from its estuary in Macabalan and ending at Macasandig.”
Daba said there are areas along the dikes that are vacant but are within the no-build zone. He said these are “relatively safe provided they are not used for habitation.”