Ahong sees red in green ordinance

A PROPOSED ordinance that requires business owners to secure approval from the Lapu-Lapu City Council before getting a foreshore business or development permit at City Hall got a quick veto from Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan.

The ordinance, sponsored by Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Rico Amores, was passed on July 25, 2019 but Chan never signed it. The ordinance requires business owners to secure a resolution of no objection from the Lapu-Lapu City Council for any and all forms of use of any portion of the city’s shorelines.

Amores told SunStar Cebu the ordinance aims to regulate establishments, especially those situated or about to put up shop near the sea, as a way to protect the city’s shorelines from environmental degradation.

“As head of the environment committee, I am concerned of how business establishments practice environmental protection especially if they are situated near the shoreline. Like, for instance, I heard of one hotel in the city that allegedly releases its waste water to the sea during the evening,” Amores said in Cebuano.

Amores also recalled the recent controversy when medical wastes from a neighboring city were found floating in their waters.

The ordinance states that applicants for foreshore lease, fishpond lease, miscellaneous sales, reclamation, port or wharf development; or jetty development cannot proceed without securing a resolution of no objection from the City Council.

“For business entities, no business permit or mayor’s permit shall be issued without such valid Resolution of No Objection from the Sangguniang Panlungsod and for private use, no development permit can be issued without the corresponding resolution,” the ordinance states.

But for Chan, the ordinance is meant to give business owners and investors in the city a hard time and is a violation of the Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007.

Chan added that the policy does not support the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for local government units like Lapu-Lapu City to make transactions with their taxpayers easier and faster.

“It would appear that the power to suspend or revoke the existence of the business permit lies within the office of the city mayor and that to enact an ordinance that would declare ipso facto the invalidation of a business permit is actually infringing on the power of the city mayor,” Chan said in his veto statement to the City Council.

He added that approval from the City Council for the issuance of foreshore business permits and others is not necessary since there are concerned agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources who are tasked to that.

“This possibly serve as a venue for corruption and may dissuade investors from investing in Lapu-Lapu,” Chan added. (From FVQ of SuperBalita Cebu, JKV)


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