UNTIL ownership of a portion of the lot where a new city public hospital is being built is made clear, Cebu City Hall will not process the building permit application.

Without a building permit, a construction project is deemed illegal.

The Office of the Building Official (OBO) has suspended the processing of the building permit for the ongoing construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

The building permit was not processed because the ownership of a portion of the 4,000-square-meter lot where the 10-story hospital will rise has yet to be established.

The OBO wants to find out if the area is titled under the City Government or a private owner.

“It has a lot number but other details are not available. The subject lot is supposedly part of the road but it has been part of the footprint of the building. So we have to look into this,” acting OBO chief Josefa Ylanan said.

Ylanan said it is possible that they will suspend the construction until lot ownership is determined and a building permit is issued.

The option to stop the construction is among the matters they will discuss when they meet with Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña today.

In an interview yesterday, Ylanan said it is important for the City to determine the ownership of the lot because the city hospital is a big project.

The hospital will cost the City P1.5 billion to build.

The first phase of the project alone, which includes the foundation and structural frames, has an approved budget of P600 million.

“It is not easy if we don’t identify the lot (ownership) and we will continue with the construction. It is not easy to fold the structure once it is there. To avoid wasting funds, the decision has to be made now,” she said.

The lot whose ownership is being looked into is on Panganiban St.

It’s part of one lane of the road that was fenced by the City when the construction of CCMC began in July 2015, to allow heavy equipment to move around the project site.

Ylanan also said that in the ordinance establishing Panganiban St., the 10-meter wide road is supposed to be expanded to 20 meters in the future.

“But how can we widen the road if the lot intended for the road expansion is included in the footprint of the (CCMC) building,” she said.

The certificate of land title for this lot and the building plans are among the requirements for the issuance of a building permit.

Until the owner of the lot is identified, Ylanan said the application for a building permit for the hospital will remain pending before OBO. The project, though, already has a locational clearance.

The City Government began building a new hospital after the old CCMC building was demolished. It was declared dangerous for occupants after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake damaged the building in October 2013.

The first phase is expected to be completed in April 2017 by the Manila-based firm C.E. Padilla Construction.

In an interview yesterday, Ylanan said project completion might be delayed.

The construction period will also be tackled during the meeting today, which will be attended by engineers from the Department of Engineering and Public Works and the contractor.

Being the head of OBO, Ylanan said, she cannot allow a City-initiated and funded project to have deficiencies.

She said she wants to know why it took so long for those who oversee the project to apply for a building permit, considering that the requirements are easy to secure.

“My concern is, make it legal so we will follow the regulations of the Building Code. Strikto-strikto ta sa ubang building unya ang atong building walay (permit) (We’re very strict with other building owners, yet our own building doesn’t have a permit),” she said.

When asked if the City can impose penalties on the contractor for failing to secure a building permit almost a year after the project started, Ylanan said she doesn’t want to think about that yet.

Meanwhile, the OBO requested for an inventory of all public schools being constructed in the city to check the status of their building permits.

Ylanan said schools that do not have building permits can still be used because classes have started.

“The permit will just follow,” she said. “But if the building is constructed in a hazardous area, we will not allow it (to be used).”

Ylanan said that so far, none of the schools that were built without a permit were reported to be in hazardous areas. With Ianne Clarisse A. Ortiz, UP Cebu Intern