‘Lack of relocation site, limited funds’ hamper Cebu City’s clearing operations

·2 min read

AN ESTIMATED 14,000 illegal structures are encroaching on the three-meter easement of seven waterways that the Cebu City Government plans to clear.

However, Gerry Carillo, chairman of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC), said they have only tagged 2,000 illegal structures for demolition.

“So far, we’ve served 2,000 demolition orders. But by the looks of it, some 14,000 will be affected by the clearing operation,” he said in Cebuano.

He said the illegal structures are located along the Bulacao River, Lahug River, Guadalupe River, Kinalumsan River, Butuanon River, Estero Parian and the Budlaan-Talamban River.

Carillo, in an interview on Monday, August 29, 2022, said they’ve been forced to prioritize since they don’t have a relocation site to accommodate all affected individuals. The funding for the affected owners’ financial assistance from the Department of Public Works and Highways is also limited, he said.

He said affected owners will receive P35,000 from the agency.

He explained that only those structures that are found inside the three-meter easement zone will be torn down.

During a consultation with residents along the Budlaan-Talamban River the other day, the CCDRRMO found out that majority of them were willing to move their structures outside the three-meter easement or to relocate once they receive the cash aid.

“We’re working on the budget. It’s a big amount and we need to present this to the City Council and the national government,” Carillo said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The clearing operation is in line with the order of Mayor Michael Rama to reclaim the three-meter easement zone in all waterways in the city. This will allow the DPWH 7 to fast-track its implementation of various flood control projects in the city.

Once the original banks of the seven waterways are restored and the DPWH 7 completes its flood control project, Carillo said flooding in the city will be minimized.

The CCDRRMC chairman hopes to complete the clearing operation within three years. (PAC/PJB)