CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- My apologies for being absent from this corner in the final days of last year. I really missed our talks but because of the business of life (work and personal) Straight from the Carolinas was absent for a while. Please accept my sincerest apologies and my wish for a great year ahead for all of us.
You will find me talking about local issues there in Cagayan de Oro as told to me by my own daughter. I have all the reasons to believe this is urgent since she seldom relates to me things like this in the past.
My family never asked to use my work in their concerns but I have to take this to the next level because this involves public interest. I told myself it must be very urgent and she could not hold it anymore because last Christmas, this occupied half of our time in our discourse. So without further ado, here it goes:
Residential subdivisions have been sprouting in Cagayan de Oro of late, keeping at pace with the city's steady economic growth.
More people having more income to spend means a lucrative market for developers promising to offer houses located far and away from the noise and pollution of the city proper.
Thus, subdivision houses have been selling like hot cakes and I considered subdivisions developed by Pueblo de Oro as among the best in Cagayan de Oro even before I migrated here in my adoptive country.
When I arrived in North Carolina, I saw similarities in the homes here and at Pueblo de Oro developed subdivisions which are clean, have beautiful scenery and are secured.
The tranquility and stillness of the surroundings waiting at the houses in these subdivisions after a long hard day at work or in school is heaven sent. That’s what I saw in these Pueblo de Oro developed subdivisions before.
I said before because my impression changed after I was informed by my daughter about her family's situation at Hillsborough Pointe Subdivision. A neighbor who converted a house into part of his office had been disrupting the peace so to speak.
Actually, she told me about the situation back in May but I told her to ignore these occupants. But I guess it persisted since she told me about the situation days before the New Year.
In fact, according to her accounts, it is not only her and family who were deprived of peace of mind but also an American who is also residing on this area long before my daughter and her family started living at Hillsborough Pointe two years ago.
Sad for the American when he complained about the smoke coming from the service vehicle of this construction firm and he was only told “You are just a foreigner living here.”
Sometime in September or around that time, this American already filed a complaint against I Constructors and Developers Inc. (ICDI) who are renting a house across his house but there was no clear action.
As a background, ICDI is building the gymnasium of Xavier University. The foreigner’s house is directly across the street of the house in question.
He complained about the noise and inappropriate behavior of the tenants that had disrupted the peace in the community.
In his letter to Pueblo de Oro management, the foreigner said the house occupied by the ICDI personnel felt at “times like a commercial zone where people, trucks, vans, cars and motorcycles come and go at any time of the day.”
The foreigner is not alone in his complaint. My daughter went to see the overseer of the house twice in July and August and asked them to minimize their noise since her house is adjacent to theirs.
My daughter said the noise would start at 5 a.m. and persists for the rest of the day. My granddaughter would wake up at the time, courtesy of the noise coming from their inconsiderate neighbors.
The frequent loud noises they are creating are unacceptable considering that the place is a residential subdivision and not a commercial area. The coming and going of the personnel and their vehicles is a security nightmare.
My daughter said they also resented the foul language used by these personnel in talking with each other, disregarding the sensibilities of the residents there which lately would occur every time they would use the bathrooms.
She begged and cajoled the occupants to no avail. In fact, my daughter said the occupants became noisier as if to make “bugal bugal (insult, ridicule).” Their noise stressed the family so much that they have to go to Tagoloan town just to have a good night’s sleep.
Since there was no action from the occupants, my daughter addressed her complaint to Hillsborough Homeowners Association management to no avail. The noise persisted and even worsened and the president of the subdivision invited the occupants for a meeting but nothing happened.
It is also unclear if Pueblo de Oro management invited these occupants for explain their unwelcome behavior.
While I understand it is the homeowner's right to lease or rent their home to people not known to the subdivision, the lease arrangement should also conform to the policies set by the subdivision and the homeowners association.
Is Pueblo de Oro management aware of the problems caused by these occupants? If so they should take action on this matter with dispatch.
As far as Xavier University (XU) is concerned, they have nothing to do with these occupants. But their name is being carried by these occupants and I suspect they do so without XU's knowledge.
The XU school officials should talk to the contractor and tell them to remind their people to behave well. Also, while the occupants are silent, they did lodge a complaint about the noises made by these occupants while they use their bathroom. I was told that the construction would end by March but three months is a long way to go for all.
If I am the house owner, I would really ask that the rental contract be canceled and the deposit returned to the owner so that these arrogant workers can find a place where they can disturb neighbors or other people in the area.
But nothing's been done by Pueblo de Oro management to address the complaint or it is not clear if the association of the Hillsborough Homeowners Association dealt with it.
I appeal to the City Council committee on subdivisions to please intervene on the matter or investigate in aid of legislation for future renters in subdivisions.
The right to privacy and peace of mind of subdivision homeowners should be ensured by developers since they are paying for it with their hard-earned money.
In this case, Pueblo de Oro is fully obligated to protect the interests of its homeowners who believed in their promise that they can build their homes and feel secure and proud to have their own castles to call their own.
By the way it was months ago when I told my daughter to just ignore her neighbors but I guess the complaint showed that these occupants have become too difficult to ignore. While my family and I are excited to see the completion of the new XU gym, we aren't too excited with the disruption caused by their workers.
(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines and is now employed in one of the school systems in the Carolinas. Read her blogs @straightfromthecarolinasusanpalmesdennis.)