60 upland establishments' work ordered stopped

60 upland establishments' work ordered stopped
SunStar File Photo

SIXTY establishments in nine mountain barangays were forced to stop their work on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, for failing to comply with Cebu City Hall requirements.

Among them were several restaurants and a barangay hall.

The Office of the Building Official (OBO) conducted random inspections from Barangay Lahug to Tabunan and discovered several structures that either had no occupancy permit or building permit.

OBO Chief Florante Catalan said majority of the notices of violation were issued to commercial establishments like restaurants, some of which are popular with tourists.

Some structures, he said, were built without setbacks, did not follow property lines or lacked amenities like parking and comfort rooms.

Catalan, in an interview after their inspection on Tuesday, said the establishments cannot resume operations until their owners secure the necessary permits.

Possible complaints

Should they take action without the City’s green light, he said the City Legal Office will file appropriate complaints against them.

Catalan was not able to provide the names of the establishments and the barangay hall, saying the City Public Information Office (PIO) has them.

The PIO, though, was not able to provide the list as of press time.

Catalan said the 60 establishments are all located along the Cebu Transcentral Highway, adding that they expect to find more in interior areas.

He said his office will continue with inspections in the following days.

“Illegal construction is really rampant in the upland area,” he said in a phone interview.

Barangays included in the inspection were Lahug, Busay, Budlaan, Malubog, Babag, Pung-ol Sibugay, Sirao, Taptap and Tabunan.

Catalan said illegal construction of establishments is rampant in the mountain barangays due to lack of policing of barangay officials.

He said barangay officials are liable for the violations committed, considering that the very first requirement of getting permits from the local government unit starts with them.

“Sa ilang jurisdiction, ila na unta nang nabadlong, not only the City; sila na unta’y nanakop ana,” said Catalan.

(It’s their jurisdiction. They should have already reprimanded them and not just the City; they should have apprehended them.)

All individuals who plan to build structures are required to first get a barangay clearance.

If the structure is built within a protected area, a clearance from the Protected Area Management Board (Pamb) is required.

If all initial requirements are completed, these should be submitted to the OBO, along with building plans and other details of the development, to secure a building permit.

1-hour processing

Catalan said in the case of Cebu City, individuals need to wait only an hour for a building permit.

An occupancy permit is required once the project is completed.

“Reasons for not securing permits, maybe they find it a hassle? Why would they find it troublesome when it only takes one hour to process it?” said Catalan in a mix of Cebuano and Tagalog.

Catalan said the City can only identify if a structure is being built within a protected area if the owner complies with the requirements.

City Planning and Development Office Head Joseph Michael Espina, in previous reports, expressed a desire for the City to take a more active role in regulating structures built in protected areas after he discovered that Pamb allowed developers to put up structures at the Central Cebu Protected Landscape without the City’s knowledge.

Catalan urged barangay captains to use their authority to prevent illegal structures from being built in their jurisdictions, as authorized by City Ordinance (CO) 1481.

Under CO 1481, barangay officials are empowered to monitor structures within their barangay, send a written notice to the developer or owner to remove or demolish any illegal structure and issue a cease and desist order.

Should they fail to implement and exercise this power, barangay captains may face charges such as of misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty. (JJL)


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