Editorial: Flood again

For the umpteenth time, Cebu City and a large part of Cebu experienced an unforgiving flood. On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, the downpour did not have to last an hour long. A few minutes of it was enough to submerge streets and villages, especially those located in downtown Cebu City, low-lying barangays near the sea and in places near rivers or creeks.Several vehicles, particularly the smaller ones, conked out in the middle of the road, creating traffic. Some public utility vehicles, modern and old-school jeepneys, stopped traveling, thus, inflicting agony on commuters—some of whom could already be hungry but opted not to eat at fast-food joints because they were on a tight budget, some of whom were worried that they were not yet at home to take care of their children and other family members who need special attention, some of whom were worried that their homes (rented or not) were already covered with floodwater and mud.Two individuals in Cebu City were swept along with their houses when the Kinalumsan River overflowed. They survived, authorities said.The flood affected around 20 houses in Cebu City, and these structures were located near bodies of water.The Thursday evening flood was not the first time and there will be more, and the situation could become worse in the future due to climate change.Millions of pesos have been spent from government coffers by various administrations, past and present, but it seems the problem of flooding is not going away.It is true that one of the contributing factors to flooding is the indiscriminate throwing of garbage into rivers and creeks, closed and open canals. The other reason is the structures, including the houses of informal settlers, that block the natural flow of rivers and creeks. There have been government efforts to relocate the informal settlers, but the problem is like a mushroom: when an area is cleared, another set of informal settlers, presumably from the countryside, crop up. This problem is complicated, and it needs a whole-of-government effort to address the problem of informal settlers—the conduct of demolition and relocation seems a band-aid solution.The rain is a welcome respite after experiencing days of discomforting heat. But the rain becomes a discomfort when man-made infrastructure like canals and drainage systems cannot serve their purpose, which is to prevent rainwater from overflowing and cause flooding.The Thursday evening flood has made this clear: The problem lies in not having a comprehensive drainage system plan that suits the ever-burgeoning metropolis.Despite this, the public should never ever stop demanding that their local government units create a comprehensive drainage system. Perhaps, the 19th Congress could fast-track the creation of Mega Cebu Development Authority, a Metro Manila Development Authority-like body that can possibly effect the needed changes for Metro Cebu amid a changing landscape and climate, which has become more horrifying than ever.