Cagayan de Oro—This city’s flooding will play a key issue in the 2019 midterm elections, as each of aspiring mayoralty candidates promised to fix in their term.
One of the most vulnerable areas is the Lim Ket Kai mall complex and the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines campus along Claro M. Recto Avenue (National Highway).
The P1.8-billion drainage masterplan project hit a snag when the LKK Complex property owner changed its mind at the last minute and prevented the Department of Public Works and Highways from digging along its private road to reach the subterranean drainage.
This was revealed by Engineer Leowald Pecore, DPWH project engineer 3 and in-charge of Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental projects.
“[LKK] agreed before, but now they changed their mind,” Pecore said.
City Engineer Rolando Pacuribot said the city’s drainage master plan, crafted by the University of the Philippines-Planning and Development Research Foundation, Inc., provided four solutions for the LKK-USTP area.
DPWH has already completed a massive 3-by-3 meter subterranean drainage system that runs from C.M. Recto to Agora area that will drain rainwater into Macajalar Bay.
This is where DPWH and the city government hit a wall, as LKK will not allow the diggings along its two-lane road that would bypass Bitan-ag Creek and connect it to the Agora drain.
“Connecting that is the closest way,” Pecore said. “If LKK will not allow the drainage, we will be forced to raise the national highway by almost a meter high, this will prevent the flooding along the national highway.”
But raising the national highway will also cause LKK’s overpass to be demolished and flood the company’s 36-hectare commercial complex with more than six feet of flood water, he added.
The UP-proposed solutions entail four options: 1) Connecting Bitan-ag Creek into the Agora Drainage; 2) Connecting Bitan-ag Creek with a bypass drainage via LKK-Luxe Hotel Street to Agora drainage; 3) Bitan-ag Creek Bypass drainage to Agora drain via Puregold complex; and 4) Bitan-ag Creek bypass to Kulambog Creek.
Of all the options, option 2 is the least costly and the shortest route, “because we are just going to make drainage under a road lot,” Pecore said.
Pacuribot said the Bitan-ag drainage project also connects at least 30 barangays.
Pecore said the DPWH has already spent P680 million for the project.
The city government, the DPWH, and LKK will meet this week to iron out their differences, and settle the best possible options for the people and the establishments around the commercial complex.
“We can finish the project connecting drainage within six months if [LKK] will allow us,” Pecore said.