CAGAYAN de Oro City–An infrastructure built along C.M. Recto Avenue purposely to prevent flooding did not serve its purpose as water inundated many parts of the city last Monday, the Department of Public Works and Highways, Region 10 (DPWH-10) said Wednesday.
A portion of the highway and a bridge in C.M. Recto over Bitan-ag Creek, fronting the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines and the Lim Ket Kai Complex, was elevated by adding another layer of concrete but it did not stop the flashflood from occurring, said the DPWH-10.
Bitan-ag Creek is one of the major waterways of Cagayan de Oro City. It cuts across the major residential and business districts of the city from Barangay Camaman-an, Cogon Market, Limketkai Center, Agora Market and Barangay Lapasan. It is also the main drain of the drainage system of the Cogon Market area, Osmena Street, Provincial Capitol Compound, Ramonal Village, Barangay Nazareth and a portion of Divisoria.
Engr. Arthur Cupay, Chief of Planning and Design Chief of DPWH-10, said that different factors led to the flooding, one of it was the 160mm of rainwater dump in just 6 hours – an equivalent of 2 weeks rain in the city.
In 2011, Typhoon Sendong dumped more than 180mm of water which killed almost 1 thousand and 1,500 missing in the city.
The flood along C.M. Rcecto Avenue trapped more than 600 students and faculties of USTSP and thousands in Lim Ket Kai Complex.
It also caused massive damage to the vehicles parked along the complex.
200 hotel guests from lim Ket Kai Lux Hotel on a national conference and was due to depart on Monday was unable to leave due to the flood.
DPWH recently completed the elevated bridge and ramp over Bitan-ag creek which was designed to hold more water, but garbage from upstream compounded the problem, clogging the creek, causing “dam like” effect that spilled more water and mud into the national highway.
“It was designed to hold more water, but it failed, but it was not an isolated incident because flood was all over the city, not just along the national highway,” Cupay said.
The Bitan-ag creek is one of the major waterways in the city that drains into Macajalar Bay.
The city’s 2nd District Representative Maxi Rodriguez where most of the flooding occurred said that currently, the DPWH 10 has a 1.2 billion pesos drainage project along the National highway and the Bitan-ag creek is part of it.
Among the on-going project is the Agora Road subterranean canal which lies opposite of the Bitan-ag creek.
The 600 meter canal can fit two jeepneys inside and runs underneath the Agora road.
“What we are negotiating now is with commercial establishment Puregold because the canal will run underneath their building,” Rodriguez said.
Lim Ket Kai Complex and Puregold are adjacent with the Bitan-ag Creek bends at the back of Puregold.
“The Design would then allow the Bitan-ag Creek to fork between Lim ket Kai and Puregold, dividing its waters that would drain into Macajalar Bay,” Rodriguez added.
The DPWH has 17 drainage projects along the Bitan-ag Creek and much of the 2nd district’s urban barangays where the creek traverses with a total length of 9,853.78 meters or almost 10 kilometers which would cost 1.2 billion pesos.
Cupay said that the project is already in the pipeline with the elevated bridge and ramp along the National highway as part of the project.
“this does not include the much needed dredging of the Bitan-ag creek to allow water to flow freely without interruptions,” Cupay said.
Rodriguez added that he will be sourcing the fund for the project and will asked DPWH Secretary Mark Villar to immediately release the funds needed.