Collapsed ripraps: Who’s to blame? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 August 2013 14:07

The City Engineer Office (CEO) and the Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) have a lot of explaining to do, regarding the recent destruction of rip-raps in rivers of flood-stricken barangays, caused by last weekend’s flashfloods and landslides.

District 1 Councilor Cesar Jimenez Jr. said officials of these two offices have been invited to a dialogue in next week’s regular session of the city council.

“Through a resolution last Wednesday, I actually took the initiative of inviting these offices in our next regular session, with the hope that they will be able to explain to the august body, as to what happened, and why those more than a million pesos worth of infrastructure projects have been swept away just like that,” Jimenez told RPN’s ‘Zamboanga, Tiempo Ya!’ radio program yesterday morning.

Jimenez said that based on reports, more than a hundred linear meters of rip-rapping projects in the rivers of Poso (Manicahan), Barigon (Tugbungan), Mangga (Bolong), and in Ayala, were easily washed away by rampaging floodwaters last Saturday and Sunday, which forced residents of said barangays to evacuate to safer grounds.

“Such destruction has cost around P2 million in taxpayers’ money, so they (CEO and OCENR officials), have to be prepared to answer questions from us (city councilors),” explains Jimenez, who is also the City Council’s disaster and Calamity Committee chairman.

Jimenez is wondering whether CEO personnel tasked to inspect those projects, while they were still being constructed, really did their job.

“If so, why was such projects’ quality that poor, that it just took a single flashflood to destroy it?” asked Jimenez.

He added that based on reports coming from some concerned residents and barangay officials of the affected barangays, some of the rip-rapping projects were on a sub-standard quality, judging from the kind of materials the contractors used in constructing them.

On the other hand, Jimenez clarified that even the OCENR has to be equally held liable for the numerous destructions brought about by the overflowed rivers.

“We will also try to find out if this office (OCENR) has been doing their job in ensuring protection of our rivers from illegal, as well as, excessive quarrying, because the way things appeared, too much quarrying activities in those rivers could be one of the causes of such natural calamity,” Jimenez said.

Hundreds of residents from eight barangays had to evacuate to safer areas as river waters submerged their houses, their farms and livestocks due to non-stop rains that started Thursday last week. — Philip Abuy