PERENNIAL FLOODING. Residents scramble to clean out a clogged drainage canal in Barangay Banilad, Dumaguete City following a recent heavy flooding incident. The affected villagers are now asking barangay and city officials to attend to the problem which has been going on for years with three administrations unable to find a solution to it. (Contributed photo)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Residents in Barangay Banilad here are urging village and city officials to address the perennial flooding problem that has not been solved over the past years and which continually pose a threat to lives and properties.

Retired Brig. Gen. Rey Lyndon Lawas, in an interview Friday, said he talked to Banilad village chief Pacencio Maquiling, Jr. regarding the problem that has spanned several administrations already.

Lawas disclosed that in a meeting with the barangay council early this week attended by some complainant-residents, “we found out nga wala pa na brief ang mga barangay officials of any plans (the barangay officials have not been briefed yet on any plans) to address the problem.”

He said he was told the city has allocated a budget of PHP8 million for the flooding problem but there are no specifics yet.

It was agreed that the barangay shall invite concerned heads of government offices like the city planning, city engineer’s, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and others to present and brief the affected barangay residents of the plan at the soonest time possible.

“Just today, I requested to propose a barangay resolution requesting these concerned offices to present the plan before the affected residents to make it more official,” he said.

The move comes as residents in the areas of Barangays Banilad-Mangnao experienced heavy flooding on Sunday night caused by rainwater that gushed down from the mountains.

Some residents complained that their houses were flooded for hours up until after midnight.

The following day, the affected residents were cleaning up mud and debris from the flooding which took more than a day or two to finish.

DPWH personnel were also seen cleaning out drainage systems.

Veronica Paras Gascon, the next-door neighbor of Lawas, said she watched as the floodwaters poured out onto the road in front of her house, turning it into a mini-river.

Gascon said it has always been like this for more than a decade, with several officials making promises that were never fulfilled.

Connie Gregore, a person with disability, shared the same sentiments, saying that she is worried because there are two other PWDs in her home.

Gregore said she will attend the next meeting with barangay officials and will rally behind whatever has to be done to get the attention of concerned officials.

Lawas said that he will initiate a campaign to identify the number of households affected by the flooding that takes place more frequently these days than in the past years as well as a signature campaign to petition a faster and concrete response to the problem.

He said the barangay chairperson told him that the mayor has assured to deal with it once the pandemic is over.

However, residents are becoming restless and fearful that if not given immediate attention, the next huge flooding might just claim a life. (PNA)