December 6, 2023

A permanent solution is being proposed to address the flooding at Happy Homes Old Lucban, Baguio City, especially in an area where five residential structures remain submerged even days after the onslaught of Typhoon Maring.   

Rep. Mark Go and Baguio City District Engineering Office Officer-in-Charge Rene Zarate have inspected the flooded area on Oct. 13 for possible engineering interventions.

Go and Zarate have assured the residents they will work out for a permanent solution by placing large drainage tunnels, like those installed around Burnham Park.

Go said the drainage tunnels would cost millions that is why they will propose for it to be included in the last quarter of 2022 in time for the 2023 national budget.

Joseph Flores, one of the affected residents, said the flooding started last January, which residents have attributed to the full blast construction of Hotel Supreme near their area that blocked their drainage system.

Flores, who referred their concern to Go, said every time a heavy storm comes, the residents expect heavy flooding in their compound.

He said some of them bought their own personal electronic pumps to remove floodwater but it has taken a toll on their electric bills, making them instead to wait for it to subside.

The plight of the Happy Homes residents, specifically the compounds of Flores, Caoili, and Timog, was made known to the public when one of the affected residents, Jannette May Caoili, posted their situation on Facebook.

Hotel Supreme owner Peter Ng said the flooding could not be totally blamed on their ongoing hotel construction near the houses.

Ng said the elevation of the affected houses is lower than its neighboring areas thus the floodwater would naturally flow there.

He said the drainage, through the years, experienced blockage that caused the heavy flooding. He said their old hotel building experienced flooding this year as well, but acknowledged that the houses were mostly affected since these are in lower elevation.

“We also try to extend our understanding to them. If there is a decision from the city and they found out that we are at fault, then we will help repair it, even at our own expense,” Ng said.

For the meantime, Ng said his personnel are helping in pumping out floodwater from the affected residences. He said they also began pumping out water from their construction site and divert it to the culverts in the Magsaysay area.

City Buildings and Architecture Office head Johnny Degay said investigation is ongoing to find out the source of flooding and the cause of the blocked drainage system.

“We need to pump out all the water first so we could check the drainage as well as conduct tests to see the sources of the flood water,” Degay said.

He said the drainage system within the affected properties and the ones used by Hotel Supreme are old drainage lines. – Ofelia C. Empian