Long-term flood mitigation projects mulled

Long-term mitigation projects to avoid a repeat of last Monday night’s flooding scenario due to Typhoon Maring’s torrential rains shall be undertaken the soonest. This was announced by City Administrator Engr. Bonifacio De la Pena during the media forum last week.

The projects include dredging of the city’s waterways, to increase depth, thus to accommodate more volume of water, de la Pena said. Silting due to construction projects, erosion from both sides of the creek or river may also contribute for the need to dredge.

Earlier, the City Building and Architecture (CBAO), City Engineers Office (CEO) and other concerned agencies assessed structures along the easements since they impede the free flow of Balili-Sagudin water, as it empties into La Trinidad and make its way towards La Union.

More than a thousand structures including private houses, business establishments, comfort rooms, greenhouses encroached on the mandated three-meter easement, it was known.          

According to De la Pena, a re-evaluation shall be done of Monday’s overflow as some owners claim creek movement or soil erosion over the years. It was also clarified that waterways are city property and should not be encroached on.

As to law, a three-meter easement should be maintained from the edge of a waterway, De la Pena said. A case-to case evaluation, property survey, and proper legal procedures will be done if the owner contests the result of the assessment.

A session with the city’s anti-squatting will also be conducted, as with demolition advice and demolition notice, as the case may be. Though it may take time, the city is bent on recovering whatever is left of the river easements

De la Pena cited a structure in Loakan where the foundation is erected within the creek. It was however, demolished, he ended. – Julie G. Fianza