City bats for dredging of Balili River, waterways
The city is proposing to concerned government agencies the possible dredging of the Balili River and other waterways to help in preventing perennial floodings in low-lying areas that will allow the free flow of water in the said river system.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Pena stated that aside from the proposed dredging of the Balili River, one of the major river systems in Baguio and Benguet, the local government is also embarking on the aggressive clearing of waterways and easements from encroachments to ensure that run of water will be able to freely flow into the river systems without being constricted which is the major cause of floodings in some parts of the city.
However, he admitted that the clearing of the waterways and easements might take some time because of the tedious processes that are involved to afford the owners of structures that have encroached on the said easements due process prior to the removal of such identified obstructions.
The city administrator pointed out that the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) is currently undertaking the conduct of the necessary ocular inspections on the structures that have constricted the waterways and easements and the subsequent issuance of the notice of violation for them to voluntarily dismantle the illegal structures that were erected on the waterways in the different parts of the city.
According to him, the local government is also evaluating and assessing on what will be the most feasible measurement of the easement that will be uniformly implemented in the city as the required 3-meter easement from the waterways might no longer be practical based on the current situation in the various barangays that host waterways where illegal structures have been already erected.
The local government department head stipulated that more or less 1,000 structures have been found by the CBAO to have allegedly encroached in the prescribed easement of waterways that is why the disposal of their individual concerns aside from those that have already been issued titles showing proof of their ownerships will probably take a longer period of time as it will have to pass through the required processes of being deliberated in the city anti-squatting committee prior to the issuance of demolition advises and notices for the owners to remove such improvements on the easement of waterways.
He emphasized that the ongoing improvement of the drainage system is definitely one of the strategies being employed to address the flooding in the central business district area aside from working on the clearing of the constricted easements to avoid the occurrence of untoward incidents that may pose a serious threat to life and limb in the future.
Dela Pena asserted that since the Balili River is the main discharge area of various tributaries from elevated areas in the different parts of the city, then appropriate measures must already be undertaken by ensure its dredging to allow the river system to accommodate the huge volume of water flowing into it during the height of the rainy season as the city always receives the highest rainfall annually based on available data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). – Dexter A. See