The Quezon City government has reminded structure and property owners to keep rivers and connecting creeks clear and free from any form of obstruction.

The Department of the Building Official (DBO), headed by Atty. Dale Perral, issued this reminder after a back wall inside a private subdivision in Barangay Culiat collapsed last weekend due to heavy rains, endangering the lives of 14 informal settler families.

Based on initial reports, the entire wall collapsed over the creek at the other side of Union Village’s perimeter wall and into the houses of informal settlers adjacent to it. There were no reports of injuries following the incident.

“This is a grim reminder to all structure or building owners to keep the rivers and connecting creeks clear, clean and free from any form of obstruction. We cannot disregard our existing laws and leave everything to chance,” Perral said.

“The law strictly prohibits the construction of any structure along the waterways or on top of ripraps or retaining walls since it is unsafe and poses imminent danger to life and limb of QCitizens,” he added.

Perral emphasized that these structures are considered nuisances “since they constitute a direct menace to public health or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily by reason of safety.”

In this regard, Perral also reminded property owners to avoid constructing along easements of waterways and creeks for these are non-buildable areas and danger zones.

“Public safety and welfare should not be compromised. It is imperative that such portions of waterways remain free from any obstruction to avert any untoward incident and mitigate severe flooding in the city,” he stressed.

The DBO official said the city government will notify concerned property owners about the matter to give them time to voluntarily tear down encroachments in easements of waterways, before the department undertakes any demolition.

As for the collapsed wall, employees of the QC Engineering Team started removing the debris over the weekend. According to Assistant City Engineer Robert Lui Beltran, the engineering team has already cleared 80 percent of the rubble.

Because of rains, it will take them several days to finish the clearing operation.

Afterwhich, they will immediately construct a retaining wall to replace the collapsed structure.

“We will design a retaining wall to replace it as soon as possible. We strongly urge the residents to avoid putting any structure above it to ensure everyone’s safety,” Beltran explained.

Mayor Joy Belmonte likewise ordered the City’s Housing Community Development And Resettlement Department (HCDRD) to prioritize and allocate housing units for the affected 14 ISFs.

“We will continue to find ways to expedite the process of providing housing units for ISFs. But we are also urging them not to disregard the safety of their families and the community by occupying prohibited areas,” she added.

“Based on initial reports, the Union Village HOA already asked Barangay Culiat for relocation of the ISFs living within the three meters easement several years ago. However, the area did not meet the parameters of the National Housing Authority,” HCDRD Assistant Head Atty. Jojo Conejero said.

“But as per the directive of Mayor Belmonte, families living in danger zones, including those who reside along creeks, will now be prioritized in in-city housing projects to ensure their safety,” he added.