Floods trigger call for urban planning in Malaybalay City

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MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/24 October 2021) It is high time the City of Malaybalay should consider urban planning as changes in the area have altered its physical conditions, Brgy. Casisang Chair Bonifacio Valiente said.

Valiente, who sits in the Malaybalay City Council as an ex-officio member representing the Association of Barangay Councils (ABCs), told BukidnonNews.Net on October 24 that a joint city, provincial, and national effort should be done to pursue urban planning and development in the city after floods hit the barangay on September 30 and other areas in subsequent days.

Brgy. Casisang, the city’s biggest barangay in terms of population, has become a catchment basin, he said. Valiente said what happened to Cagayan de Oro in previous floods could happen to the city if no proper measures are taken. The city has become highly urbanized, he said, and proper urban planning is already highly recommended.

The city’s multipartite-monitoring team said intense rain falling into an area with poor drainage and a host of other factors have caused the flood that hit subdivisions and adjacent areas in the barangay. 

The flood affected about 500 households in six of Casisang’s 25 puroks or zones.  He told BukidnonNews.Net on October 10 that from higher elevation, flood water went through Puroks 20 and 17 then to Puroks 19, 22, 23 and 18.  

Valiente said there should be enough canals built to bring water from plantations and nearby areas to the creeks. He added that folks should be prohibited from occupying creek allowances and those already there be relocated to Brgy. San Jose. The city’s flood control should also be built, he added, to ensure that Mamala Creek and three other creeks traversing the city can systematically drain water to the Sawaga River.

Citing the high cost of the project, Valiente admitted that the barangay alone cannot do it. He stressed on the need to coordinate the actions from the city, the provincial and the national governments through the Regional Development Council. He cited the big budget needed for the flood control system, for example.

Valiente noted that the current CLUP did not yet include the costly flood control system.

The Department of Interior and Local Government, he said, should perhaps initiate the inter-government agency cooperation.  One of the first moves, he said, is hiring the urban planning experts.

Engr. Adrian Gamboa, City Planning and Development Officer, confirmed the need for the urban plan. 

“Kinahanglan na gyud ta’g urban plan. Long term master plan, perhaps, (We really needed an urban plan, perhaps a long-term master plan)” he told BukidnonNews.Net via online message.

He said the city government has considered it especially that the city’s 2016 to 2026 Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) did not factor in the new diversion roads.

Landowners in the area have changed the priority of their land use plan, he said. It was supposed to be agricultural use as considered in the city’s current zoning ordinance. He added, however, that many of the landowners are subdividing their lands and are converting to residential use.

“Which is basically not conforming to our present land use (plan). There is so much to be changed in our plan, “he added. 

Due to “some developments that are slowly diverting from the plan”, Gamboa said, there is already a need to update the 10-year CLUP by next year.

Gamboa noted that the pandemic affected the schedule so they are looking at 2022 to convene the planning core team, which will determine the city’s spatial requirements.

He said Malaybalay City already needed a drainage or sewerage system plan.

“Hopefully we can start this with the full devolution of functions to the local government units,” he added. (BukidnonNews.Net)

IN PHOTO: Google Map capture of a portion of the flooded area on September 30, 2021.BukidnonNews.Net grabbed image from Google Maps on October 2, 2021

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