CEBU, Philippines – The Cebu City government will issue notices to more than 900 households and 200 establishments that have violated the three-meter easement along the Lahug-Kamputhaw River, engineer Joelito Baclayon said on Tuesday, December 6.
At a media conference, Baclayon, who serves as “river commander,” said the owners of 18 structures have already received their notices.
“The 18 structures we gave notices to are mostly hotels…restaurants, and other commercial buildings,” Baclayon said.
Once notices are released, the city government will give the establishments and households at least 10 days to begin demolishing structures obstructing the river’s pathway.
Within 30 days, the structures are expected to be cleared from the area of the three-meter easement, Baclayon said.
Lahug River is just one of eight waterways being monitored by the city’s Task Force Gubat sa Baha.
Former Environment and Natural Resources secretary and retired general Roy Cimatu heads the task force.
Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama appointed Cimatu to his new post in August 2022, tasking him to resolve major flooding and sewage problems.
The task force in September designated city officials as “river commanders” for each of the city’s major rivers.
The seven other commanders are Gerardo Carillo for Bulacao River, Grace Luardo for Kinalumsan River, Dr. Ester Concha for Tagunol Creek, Rolando Ardosa for Guadalupe River, Paul Gotiong for Mahiga River, Raquel Arce for Estero Pari-an, and Arlie Gesta for Butuanon River.
These officials conduct inspections of their respective rivers and tag structures that violate the three-meter easement zones along the waterways.
In an earlier press release, Baclayon described the Lahug-Kamputhaw River as 30% upland and 70% downstream.
This means that a majority of the river is located in urban areas with commercial, residential, or mixed-use developments and buildings.
Dredging and clearing
On September 6, Cimatu also ordered the task force to dredge major rivers in an attempt to prevent future flooding.
According to Baclayon, dredging at the Lahug River has already started.
“We launched a second city-wide clean up last Saturday, December 3. Lahug-Kamputhaw River had many portions that really needed dredging. One of them being near Barangay Tejero,” Baclayon said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
The city managed to get 20 tons of garbage from the river and has yet to fully clean the waterway, citing difficulties with transporting equipment, he added.
As of this writing, the city is finishing clearing operations at a portion of the Lahug-Kamputhaw River under a reinforced concrete road in Pier 3 near Quezon Boulevard. – Rappler.com