Tell it to SunStar: Needing to take the first step

·2 min read

By Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners Cebu Chapter and United Architects of the Philippines Datu Lapu-Lapu Chapter

We would wish to thank you for giving space in your editorial of Oct. 30 regarding our position paper on urban flooding. We appreciate your opinion on the matter as we respectfully offer this response:

We completely agree with you that there are a whole bunch of issues regarding flooding including “informal settlers and large commercial edifices” affected by clearing operations. Although we did mention that as “short-term mitigating measures,” clearing operations may be made “initially at free areas (proactively) and consequently on existing structures (reactively).” These are stop-gap measures intended to address a perennial problem.

The more long-term and permanent solution as we prescribed is really through proper planning and implementation. Planning, as the term implies, is a forward-looking process which encompasses an overall approach to a problem.

In this case, as you correctly implied, the problem of flooding entails addressing the concurrent issues of housing and relocation for informal settlers, a topic which we might tackle in a future discussion. It also involves the draconian demolition of those large commercial edifices and/or possible re-alignment of existing waterways as a more workable option.

Planning also allows the city to implement projects by phase depending on the availability of funds and the current situation. As the saying goes, “Failure to prepare is tantamount to planning for failure.”

To be sure, as you point out, there are a whole gamut of other pressing issues that afflict our metropolis, the consequence of decades of poor or even the complete absence of planning. The ongoing flooding in many parts of the metropolis only dramatizes one of these afflictions. They are as good as any of our myriad ills that we choose to address now, believing that its immediacy should spur us into action if we are to start anything at all. The sage Laozi says it well, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

We take it upon ourselves to engage the public in a serious discourse perchance to rouse our local government units into concerted action — to take that single first step. We seek your cooperation in bringing this discourse into public consciousness, as we bring more of these issues to your attention.

Thank you for this opportunity to be heard. Kudos to SunStar Cebu.