A HEAVY downpour across Metro Cebu, particularly in the cities of Mandaue and Cebu, caused the Mahiga Creek to overflow Sunday afternoon, June 23, 2019.
As a result, water inundated streets in Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue City and Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City.
Piles of garbage composed mostly of plastic containers had gathered under the Subangdaku Bridge near the Innodata office on Lopez Jaena St., clogging up the waterway.
According to Jay Basubas of the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MCDRRMO), garbage overflowed into the street when the water level of the creek started going up at 3:50 p.m.
In some areas, the water was almost knee-high.
The MCDRRMO immediately sought the assistance of the General Services Office and the clean and green unit of Barangay Subangdaku to gather the floating garbage.
It also asked the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue to bar vehicles from passing the area to prevent them from getting stuck in floodwater.
It also fielded government vehicles to pick up stranded passengers and take them to their destinations like the adjacent town of Consolacion or Lapu-Lapu City across the Mactan Channel.
Mahiga Creek serves as the boundary of the cities of Mandaue and Cebu. It flows out into the sea at the North Reclamation Area.
Basubas said the flooding may have been exacerbated by the high tide.
He said they’ve noticed that when it only rains in Mandaue, the creek doesn’t overflow. But when it rains in both Mandaue and Cebu City at the same time, flooding usually ensues.
He said Harold Alcontin, his counterpart at the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, was quick to coordinate with his office, especially in clearing the flooded streets of floating garbage.
Basubas pointed out that there was no flooding in other flood-prone areas in the city, such as A.S. Fortuna St. or in Barangay Tipolo, as only Mahiga Creek overflowed.
As of 5 p.m. last Sunday, the water level had not reached critical, he said.
In a related development, the state weather bureau Pagasa continues to monitor a low pressure area (LPA) that entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility at 7 p.m. last Saturday, June 22. The LPA was observed entering Central Visayas last Sunday at 5 p.m.
Pagasa 7 Chief Al Quiblat said its arrival in the region and the presence of localized thunderstorms were among the factors they were considering to have caused the heavy downpour.
Although the rain lasted less than an hour, it caused heavy flooding in some parts of Cebu City, particularly in the downtown area, including portions of Sanciangko and Colon Streets, and parts of Mandaue City.
As to the Mahiga Creek overflowing, Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office Chief Nida Cabrera said that aside from implementing a rehabilitation program, the problem can be addressed if residents living along or near its bank practiced self-discipline.
“We have already implemented various cleanup drives in Mahiga Creek. However, residents there would not just cooperate. The garbage from Mandaue City and Cebu City meets in Mahiga Creek. It should be rehabilitated and be deepened so that it would not easily overflow when it rains,” she said.
SunStar Cebu called John Paul Gelasque, officer-in-charge of Cebu City’s Department of Public Services, for an interview, but his phone was unattended.
Quiblat said based on their monitoring, there is a 50-50 percent chance the LPA will develop into the country’s fourth tropical cyclone this year.
“There are factors to consider for the LPA to become a tropical cyclone. The sea temperature should be warm and above 26 degrees Celsius and the presence of the wind shear must be weak. As of now, we are lucky because although the sea condition is favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone, we have a strong presence of wind shear (in the troposphere) that destroys the circulation of the LPA,” he said.
If the LPA becomes a tropical depression, it will be called “Dodong.”
“The landfall chance is very small, but we can still expect light to moderate rains. If this LPA will not weaken within the next hours, we can still expect scattered rains in Cebu on Monday (June, 24),” he added. (FROM FMD OF SUPERBALITA / PJB / WBS)