Naga SMILES Magazine
“WE should be proactive in addressing the perennial flooding in many parts of the city,” Mayor John Bongat quips when asked by the media after he issued two landmark executive orders last June aimed at putting an end to one of the natural menaces facing the city during torrential downpours.
Mayor Bongat issued Executive Orders 2012-013 and 014 as part of Naga’s efforts to solve the perennial flooding problem of Naga and ensure the maintenance of natural waterways in the city.
“These are also climate change adaptation (CCA) initiatives aimed at protecting the environment which we cannot defer to some later date,” Bongat asserts.
In Executive Order 2012-013, the chief executive cited human neglect and irresponsible intervention as causes of the blockage of some of the city’s natural waterways like streams and creeks, exposing communities to the risk of flooding, as well as waterborne diseases.
Bongat also emphasized the need for a flood mitigation board in Executive Order 2012-014, given that Naga lies along the course of both the Naga and Bicol rivers, increasing the risk of flooding in the city, particularly in low-lying barangays.
The Naga City Waterways Management Council and the Naga City Flood Mitigation Board are expected to ensure the effectiveness of the city government’s infrastructure program and recommend additional measures to limit the risk of flooding and flood-related illnesses.
As a special body, the Waterways Management Council will focus on the maintenance of Naga’s natural waterways and their role in agriculture, health, sanitation and environment protection. The council is also charged with the identification of waterways in the city’s 27 barangays and the organization of residents along the Naga and Bicol rivers into “Defenders of Naga River”.
The Council is composed of the city mayor as chairman with the head of the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) as the vice chairman. Representatives from local and national government agencies are also included as members, comprised of the heads of the Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO), the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), the City Health Office (CHO), and the City Agriculture Office (CAgO) as well as the President of the Liga ng mga Barangay, representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Board (DENR-EMB), the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Metro Naga Water District (MNWD). Members from the private sector include the president of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI), a representative from the Naga City Peoples’ Council (NCPC), and three private practitioners or professionals to be determined and appointed by the city mayor.
|Mayor Bongat is interviewed by members of the media during one of his inspections of ongoing drainage improvements in the city.|
Meanwhile, Mayor Bongat’s Flood Mitigation Board, created under Executive Order 2012-014 is charged with the identification of flood-prone areas in the barangays, and the recommendation of necessary infrastructure to be developed to address flooding in the city.
Private sector members of the Board include the MNCCI president, representatives from the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) Naga City Chapter, United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Camarines Sur Chapter, the NCPC, and three professionals to be appointed by the city mayor.
Both bodies are also tasked with the preparation of a topographical map indicating the location and flow of water in relation to the waterways’ connections to those in adjacent municipalities as well as the implementation of a public awareness campaign, which includes the posting of notices containing important tide information in barangays adjacent to the Naga and Bicol rivers.
FOR three decades, Dr. William “Bill” Magee and his wife Dr. Kathleen “Kathy” Magee devoted their time to a life-long mission, to give people born with cleft lip and palate across the world a chance to live fulfilling lives, a reason to smile.
American community pitched in to help raise the money needed for medical equipment and supplies. Soon after, medical professionals and organizations adopted Operation Smile in their respective countries, regularly conducting surgical missions in the countryside, and in the process, effectively multiplying the Magees and the impact they have made a thousand-fold over.