By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
ILOILO CITY was drenched on Tuesday due to the heavy downpour brought about by Tropical Storm “Falcon” and the “habagat” (South West Monsoon).
As usual, students, motorists, and residents waded in floodwater, exposing them to serious health threats like leptospirosis.
In fact, flooding has been a perennial problem of the city for decades now.
But Engr. Salvador Pedregosa, City Engineering Office (CEO) officer-in-charge, said the permanent solution to the perennial problem is to ensure that all drainage canals in the inner parts of the city are connected to the main drainage systems of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Ang drainage systems sa city routes dapat maka-connect gid sa secondary if not mainline nga ginaubra sang DPWH, amo na ang permanent solution sa flooding sa Iloilo City,” Pedregosa said.
Pedregosa said inner city drainages that were not connected to the main drainage outlets of DPWH are the major causes of flooding in the metro.
“Since there are ongoing constructions on the drainage line of the DPWH, we resort to manual declogging,” he said.
While the Phase 1 of the comprehensive drainage project of the DPWH has already been completed in Jalandoni Street, City Proper, its Phase 2 will be finished by February 2020.
Phase 2 will address flooding in City Proper and La Paz districts.
Drainage canals in the city are also clogged with trash, particularly plastics, Pedregosa lamented.
“Three teams sa declogging ang nagwa to decongest the areas of Bo. Obrero, De Leon, and Iznart and grabe ang plastic and basura sa drainage system naton. Amo na ga-appeal man kita sa aton mga constituents nga mangin responsible kita nga ihaboy ang aton basura sang ensakto,” he stressed.
Pedregosa said that they are now gathering data on the drainage situation of the metro, with focus on City Proper district.
“We are focusing on City Proper because amo gid na ang area nga below sea level but we are still gathering data,” he said.
Within this week, Pedregosa said that he is set to meet with the DPWH for a coordination meeting on the possible and permanent solutions on flooding in the metro.
“The city government is working hand in hand with the DPWH with regards to the flooding and road widening projects in the city,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iloilo City Rep. Julienne Baronda said she has discussed the flooding problem with DPWH Sec. Mark Villar.
Baronda said Villar agreed with her point to revisit and update the comprehensive drainage study which was funded by DPWH.
The first lady representative of the city said the drainage study is already two to three years, thus it is no longer responsive to the current situation in the city.
“Once the study is updated, we will push for funding of the drainage system blueprint. We want to include all barangays para matapos na ang problema sa baha bisan gamay lang nga ulan,” Baronda said.