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ROUGH CUTS |  Time to revisit the city’s development plan

INDEED time flies so fast. Today is the first day of October 2022. And in only 92 more days it will be another year. Some of us who had hoped for a better life this year may have achieved what we hoped for. And some, perhaps the majority, may have failed in our aspirations. 

     Anyhow, hope springs eternal, as the common saying goes.  So for those among us who did not have our opportunity we can start hoping all over again. We sure are in this together for the longest time.

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     A few columns back we tackled the issue on the local government officials of Davao City normally talking with loud decibel about these and those projects supposedly intended to prevent flooding in low-lying areas especially in the city’s main business centers and residential enclaves within the peripheries during, or right after major floods hit these sectors of the city.

     In the same column item we mentioned that when heavy rains appear to distance from falling in the city proper the concerned city officials forget about everything related to the flooding problem and its possible solution. 

     But three nights ago, the rains poured like the proverbial fight between “cats and dogs.” The rains were so heavy in areas leading to the north sector of the city. What happened in only after three hours was the inundation of some subdivisions going to Sasa and the submersion of that low-level stretch of the airport road in Buhangin specifically the one at the San Isidro portion going to NHA Buhangin.

     The flood water was about breast deep in the middle portion that so many vehicles using the road conked out. Thus, a very heavy traffic ensued even as some houses were under water up to window level.

     We have no doubt that what dominated the mouths of the city’s officials both from the executive and legislative departments the morning after the flood were words all about solving the flooding problem. We would even assume that some maybe pointing fingers or telling those who bother to listen that “I’ve told you so.”

     We wonder if anyone from either the executive or the Sanggunian will ever bother to revisit the city’s short term or the 20 or 25-year development plan. We are certain that the projects and location on which these would be constructed are contained in those all-too-important documents. May be some of these projects need to be adjusted in accordance with the recent flood incidents and where these are happening, its magnitude and the actual physical condition of the areas where the planned projects were set to be undertaken.

     In fact when we were heading a corporate-based non-government organization (NGO) disaster response program we were given a copy of a geo-hazard map prepared by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for Davao City. It was in that map that the areas in the city’s low and uplands prone to natural disasters like flood, landslides, soil subsidence, sea surges and even earthquakes were pinpointed.

     The most manifest of the disasters that could happen in the identified sections of the city were floods, landslides and soil subsidence.  The later section are areas known to be sitting over known catch basins or those areas on top of cavernous aquifer that could collapse when the weight of infrastructure developments over it is too much to bear.

     We have no doubt that a copy of the same geo-hazard map could be an integral component of the development plan of the city. Hence, if anyone from the executive or legislative department will take the trouble of browsing over the multi-page document he or she will surely be made aware of the plans, programs and projects related to confronting the vulnerabilities of the city to certain kinds of disasters like flood.

     Therefore, given the level of the city’s physical development and the alteration of the landscape brought about by the physical enhancements, our officials will surely find which of the proposed projects have to be pursued revised, substituted with  more responsive ones, or totally abandoned.

     As practitioners in development planning would love to say, “development plans have to be as  dynamic as the ever changing landscape of the places where these are intended for.”   

                              

        

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