The matter was confirmed by Cerwin Eviota, Cebu City public information officer, in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022.
Eviota said that last month, he accompanied Task Force Gubat sa Baha (TFGB) chairman and former environment secretary Roy Cimatu and Mayor Michael Rama to meet with DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan concerning their request.
Eviota said he, Rama, Cimatu and other city officials were in Manila last month for the mayor’s latest “investment marketing” trip as part of his campaign to turn Cebu City into the next Singapore.
Eviota said Bonoan agreed to send all of DPWH’s heavy equipment that are no longer being used to Cebu such as their backhoes and dredgers to help in the TFGB’s efforts in dredging Cebu’s major waterways.
“Ang tanang mga backhoe ug dredgers sa DPWH nga wala na gamita, ipadala tanan sa Cebu para sa massive dredging sa mga silted rivers,” Eviota said of the agreement between Cimatu and Bonoan.
Cimatu and Rama also met with Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.
They asked Bautista to prohibit vessels from blocking the area at the Cebu City Pier 3 where the water from Barangays Lahug, Camputhaw and Tejero drains into the sea.
Eviota said Cimatu made the request to Bautista after he found that vessels anchored near the waterway’s mouth prevented the passage of water there, resulting in the waterway overflowing and causing flooding in the surrounding areas.
Since its creation earlier this year, the TFGB has been tasked to clear the three-meter easement of the city’s major waterways particularly the Bulacao River, Kinalumsan River, Guadalupe River, Lahug River and the Mahiga Creek.
Once the city’s major river systems are cleared of informal settlers, those affected by the clearing will be transferred to medium-rise buildings that the Cebu City Government plans to construct. (PAC / JKV)