Rains that started early Wednesday evening led to many stranded passengers, most of them students, and flooding in many parts of the city. The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said that they have already sent out warning systems but this didn’t seem to be enough to make people aware or prepare them on the gravity of the flooding.
Yesterday, the city declared a state of calamity on four barangays; Wangan, Los Amigos, Tugbok Proper, and Talomo.
Rodrigo Bustillo, CDRRM operations chief, said they had already informed flood prone barangays to conduct pre-emptive evacuation at about 5pm. Still, Bustillo noted that in the case of Talomo River, the magnitude of the rising waters could be the worst in the past two decades. No injuries, deaths, and missing residents were reported.
What could have caused such devastation? In a Facebook post by environmentalist Ric Obenza, he said that government should prioritize environmental concerns especially the destruction of our watershed areas that have been converted into residential, resorts and plantations. Such land use conversion could not possibly protect our city from heavy rains, much less stronger typhoons that are expected to hit us with climate change.
Flooding in the downtown area has probably worsened, ask any of those who have experienced the inconvenience of being caught in the rain. We all know that this happens often during early evening when students and workers are on their way home. It is heartrending to see the entire stretch of the road filled with heavily drenched passengers waiting for a ride home. There were visibly less public transportation plying the route, which is understandable because of the traffic on the main streets.
Until we find ways to efficiently and pro-actively respond to this, we all have to bear nature’s wrath. As Datu Rodolfo Mande said last Monday on the occasion of the National Heroes Day celebration, “if the mountains fall, the cities will fall.”