By LITO RULONA
UNTIL now, Cagayan de Oro is still unprepared for heavy downpours, and local officials and business leaders have sounded alarm bells over delays in the construction of major drainage systems seen to address its urban flooding problems.
A major project is the one that would link the Bitan-ag Creek to a drainage system in the Agora area in Lapasan.
Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya said, “We are alarmed because it has been more than two years but until now, the project isn’t done yet.”
Nacaya said the project, once completed, is expected to be a solution to the problem of urban flooding in the busy commercial area.
DPWH officials blamed the delays on the lack of budget set aside by the national government for the projects, according to Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Irene Floro.
She said that during a dialogue with the DPWH, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and city hall officials over the weekend, it was revealed by DPWH-10 project engineer Leowald Pecore that the ongoing drainage projects at the Limketkai area, JR Borja Extension and other areas in the city would not be completed yet because the proposed augmentation budget for these this year were “deleted.”
“Na-short daw sila sa budget and so they submitted an augmentation budget. But it was deleted in the 2019 budget,” said Floro.
She said those who attended the dialogue were very disappointed to learn about this.
Floro said the result of the deletion: most of the ongoing drainage projects would ground to a halt within the next three months
She said the urban flooding in the city has become very disturbing, and it has hurt efforts to promote Cagayan de Oro to potential investors.
“Unsaon pag-invest kung ang ilang makita puro lang baha?” she said.
Another problem, according to Floro, is that the Limketkai group has not given the DPWH’s drainage project that would cut across its commercial complex the full approval.
She said she was hoping to meet with the Limketkai group’s top honcho next month.
The DPWH sees the Limketkai complex as major “artery of waterways” in downtown Cagayan de Oro.
“Subo kaayo paminawon nga dili preparado ang dakbayan sa ingon ani nga panghitabo. Gikinahanglan na og dagko nga proyekto,” said Councilor Nacaya as he pointed out the need for an integrated drainage master plan in downtown Cagayan de Oro.