THE barangay officials have the authority to suspend and demolish illegal structures in their villages, a Cebu City Hall official said.
Office of the Building Official (OBO) head Florante Catalan said the village chiefs can exercise this power in accordance with City Ordinance 1481, which regulates the construction of buildings and other structures within the city.
He issued this statement after he noticed during the massive cleanup on Guadalupe River on Aug. 17, 2019 that there were structures near the river that did not follow the three-meter easement.
Catalan urged the barangay leaders to either issue or not a clearance for the construction of a building.
Before contractors can proceed with their construction projects, they have to secure a barangay clearance first before they can apply for a building permit.
Catalan advised the barangay captains to respond to the contractors’ applications within seven days. They must also submit a written report to the OBO.
“They should respond to that. If they don’t issue their decision, we consider the application as okay,” said Catalan.
The official further said the village officers should check if the owner of a structure has the necessary requirements. If the structure is illegal, the barangay leaders can tap the City Legal Office to take the legal action.
The OBO, if it receives a complaint against an illegal structure, has to issue three notices to the owner and another three subpoenas before a legal action could be undertaken.
Catalan is asking the barangay officials to help the City in getting rid of illegal structures.
The president of the Association of Barangay Councils, Kasambagan Barangay Captain Franklyn Ong, said he is glad that the powers of village chiefs were acknowledged by a city official.
“Such power is true. That is already stated in the Local Government Code. We have the authority,” Ong said.
The barangay captains, he said, have the responsibility to monitor any illegal structure in their jurisdictions.
“We should be vigilant to help the City Government,” Ong said. (JJL)