Acting Bacolod City Legal Officer Vicente Petierre III yesterday said it is not true that the city is trying to stop or sabotage the Heart, Lung and Kidney Center in Bacolod City by not granting it a building permit, and the truth is that the Office of the Building Official has not received any application for one at all.
He also said he did not write Dr. Domingo Vega of Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital denying the project a building permit. His letter concerned the temporary building permit for the “Payward building”, which was what the doctor had inquired about, and not the HLK center.
Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella had claimed that the city is stifling the construction and completion of the project by requiring it to submit an environmental compliance certificate.
Puentevella also said that every single day of delay of the construction of the specialized hospital poses the greatest danger to the lives of the people, especially the poor. He said the dumpsite, slaughterhouse and government center projects of the city are not as important as the HLK Center.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia, however, said that if the city does not have a place to dump its garbage or have a clean slaughterhouse, all of the people will get sick and the hospitals cannot accommodate them all together.
He said Puentevella has been congressman for almost nine years but he only thought about having projects such as the HLKC now because it is urgent for his political ambition.
Leonardia said the city has 30 nurses and hospital personnel at the CLMMRH to serve the people. “Our theory is to support the hospital since it would be difficult to put one up if we cannot sustain it,” he said.
ECC STRICTLY REQUIRED
Building Official Teresita Guadalupe, meanwhile, said she cannot issue a building permit without the required ECC or she will be meted a penalty of P5,000 plus imprisonment under C.O. 308 or the ECC Ordinance of Bacolod City, as well as the owner of the building.
Guadalupe said she has been instructed by Public Works and Highway Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane and the National Building Code Development Office to follow the rules.
If it is a government project, the head of the agency will also be liable for the same penalty clause, she said.
She added that the owner and structural engineer have to issue a certificate of structural stability for buildings that are more than 15 years old, or they will not be issued a business permit.
Under Article 1723 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the civil engineer will be liable if the structure will collapse within 15 years and he will be imprisoned, she added.
She said she asked the aide of Vega to present an ECC because they want to know if the building is included in the ECC of the CLMMRH.
When she was assigned to the OBO in 2003, they found more than 1,000 illegal structures in the city, she said. They have continuously conducted inspections since then and a reduction of fire incidents in the city has been noted, she said.
Guadalupe said all structures without a building permit are illegal, like the one being proposed for the Heart, Kidney and Lung Center. The structure will be issued a building permit only if requirements, like an ECC, are complied with, she said.
Leonardia said the OBO is concerned because the building is already an old structure and might collapse. It should not be rushed just because election is approaching, he said.
NOT IN THE CONTRACT
Meanwhile, Bids and Awards chairman and City Agriculturist Goldwyn Nifras, yesterday clarified that the perimeter road surrounding the donated lot where the new government center stands is not included in the contract.
Puentevella had claimed that the COA asked the city and the contractor to explain why the perimeter road around the government center was not included by Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. when it was included in the contract.
Nifras said the project only includes the parking lot, government center, the pond and the connecting roads. In other words it excludes the perimeter road which is on the boundary of the lot, he said.
In its findings in the second, or special audit conducted, again the COA reported that the whole project is within the allowable limits and was not overpriced as far as the budget is concerned, Nifras said. The construction of the perimeter road is ongoing and has a budget of budget P15.6 million, he said.
Leonardia said he hopes the people will be enlightened on which are facts and which are lies, and, definitely, they will answer COA officially.
If the perimeter road had been part of the contract, they would have compelled HCC to comply with its obligation, he said.
“We are very confident that this can be settled. In the meantime, if there is that alleged COA report, let us all remember that a COA report is not yet final and can be clarified,” Leonardia said.*CGS