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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, December 4, 2013
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Stop safari resort
work, OBO told

BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

Bacolod Councilor Caesar Distrito has directed the Office of the Building Official to issue a notice of violation and work stoppage to the Metro Safari Resort in Brgy. Alangilan, Bacolod City, for it to desist from the ongoing construction, and to require it to comply with the required permits.

Distrito, chairman of the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government, also recommended that the resort, owned by Francis Rey Cabuga, should temporarily stop its development, while they are complying with the necessary government permits.

This includes a building permit from the OBO, Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Environmental Management Board – Regional Office, City Planning and Development Office certification, resolution of favorable endorsement from the barangay, and Department of Agrarian Reform conversion clearances.

A committee hearing was conducted Friday by Distrito to address the complaint of Alangilan Kagawads Donard Alimpolo and Alex Sausi, who asked to be guided if the initiative made by the owner of Metro Safari Resort is legal and if it has complied with the requirements prescribed by law.

The complainants said the Alangilan Barangay Council denied the request of Cabuga for a favorable endorsement from the barangay to put up a resort after they were told by DAR that the conversion of the agricultural land without its approval is irregular.

They said they were surprised and felt insulted to receive an invitation to the groundbreaking on Sept. 13 from the proponent, despite the denial of their request by the barangay officials.

During the committee hearing, Harlan Tugot of the DAR told Distrito that there is no pending application for DAR clearance in their office from Metro Safari Resort, and the place where it is located is considered a CARP area.

Ignacio Cabayao Jr. said there should be no activity done before the approval of the conversion order and that a zoning clearance should be requested by the owner from the CPDO.

Jose Dureza, representative of OBO, informed the body that, as of the moment, their office has not received any application for a building permit from Metro Safari Resort.

Ma. Cecilia Soriano, legal counsel of Cabuga, said the materials for construction are ready, but no actual construction is happening yet.

But Sausi said there are already existing structures in the area and he even saw that construction of the other structures had already started.

Soriano said there was an existing fence in the area helping the purchase of the property.

However, Councilor El Cid Familiaran showed pictures of the area where Metro Safari Resort is located, that he took before attending the committee hearing, and they showed ongoing construction activities in the area.

Raymund Quinto, executive assistant of Metro Safari Resort, said the construction of the foundations of the establishment had already started. But when asked by Distrito if they had secured a building permit, he answered that they are still processing it.

Edgardo Rostata of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office told Distrito that DENR regional director Jonathan Bulos informed him that their office has not received any application for ECC from Metro Safari Resort.

Ana Ma. Carmen Principe, CPDO officer-in-charge, said that, based on City Ordinance 216, the area is classified as agricultural land.

CPDO Zoning officer Francis Aranez said that before construction, a zoning clearance should be requested from their office and if the area will be converted from agricultural to parks, C.O. 216 should be amended.*CGS

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