Editorial: SMART goals

·2 min read

THE mnemonic acronym has become common management mantra in setting objectives—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. It’s a simple, yet encompassing guide for anyone trying to marshal one’s goals. Our local government officials certainly know this like the back of their hand.

So we wonder if government’s goals in addressing the metro’s problem of flooding have been set comprehensively under SMART criteria, to say the least. Sticking out in the updates on Cebu City’s flood solution plans is the fact that it is being made under dark skies and heavy rain, not to mention that it’s way past the flash flood that claimed lives. Plans are supposedly written in the future tense.

And so we’re left with the consolation that government has an estimate of just how many informal settlers are dangerously hanging along riverbanks and that they can be forced to evacuate under grim weather forecast. Over a thousand, it says.

City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) officer-in-charge Ramil Ayuman said that as of this point the City is still looking for a relocation site for these settlers, a proposition beyond our officials’ God-given talents. Remember the proposed cemetery for the Covid dead and how it hit a wall when the health department stopped the plan on its tracks for reasons that it would endanger public health? Given that government can deliver the promised relocation site for the endangered families, I doubt that will ever happen within the downpour season.

Almost always, when government reacts to the cycle of flooding in the city, it brings out tall order solutions and would have the public believe that it appreciates the urgency.

Very quickly, the mayor would convene the owners of the 900 illegal structures that encroached on the three-meter easement zone along the city’s waterways, and then in the same breath, tell them that the City is giving them time to correct their violations.

Experience tells us time and again that when the season ends, the sense of urgency also wanes, the efforts slacken and work becomes inconsistent. When the rainy days come, we’re back to square one.

The public deserves a timeline and citizens can give officials an ultimatum. Most of all, the public needs the transparency it could get if only to know whether officials are serious in addressing the problem or not.

We suppose we aren’t in short supply of ambitious individuals who may have the better ideas in managing the city. The flood problem must be on top of the list of discussion points in the 2022 elections. The current set of officials must deliver before then.