By John Rey Saavedra

RECOVERING THE RIVERBANKS. A staff of the Cebu City government’s task force posts a notice on one of 34 establishments identified to have encroached on the 3-meter legal easements on the Estero de Parian riverbanks. Task Force Gubat sa Baha head Melquiades Feliciano said Thursday (April 25, 2024) that the recovery efforts are now focused on the Estero de Parian to prepare for the rainy season. (Photo courtesy of Cebu City PIO)

CEBU CITY – The Task Force Gubat sa Baha (War on Flooding) has served the final notice to 34 Cebu City establishments to demolish their structures encroaching on the riverbanks.

Retired military official Melquiades Feliciano, chief implementer of the task force, said Thursday that recovering riverbanks illegally occupied by these establishments is part of the city government’s efforts to address flooding.

Feliciano said so far, only a restaurant chain owner voluntarily demolished its commissary.

Under the Water Code of the Philippines, riverbanks, streams, and other bodies of water must have a 3-meter easement in urban areas.

The code also states that the owner of the lower estate cannot contract works that impede the natural flow of the water.

Establishment owners were given notices to voluntarily destroy the structures encroaching on riverbanks, particularly the Estero de Parian, which overflows during heavy rains and inundates downtown Colon Street.

They were given the final orders Tuesday but Feliciano clarified that no abrupt demolition would happen.

“We will follow the proper procedure after the lapse of the 72-hour notice,” he said.

The task force will identify those who would not follow the order and coordinate with the Business Permit and Licensing Office, which will issue the cease and desist order.

The cease and desist order will also be implemented based on the legal opinion of the city’s Legal Office.

Estero de Parian is one of the oldest estuaries in the city covering the downtown’s historical villages of Sto. Niño, Tinago, Parian, and San Roque. (PNA)