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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Councilor questions
drop in permit fees


Who ordered the revision and reduction by more than 75 percent of the computation of the permit fees of a contractor of SM Primeholdings, Inc.?

Bacolod Councilor Caesar Distrito said his committee will set another hearing on an issue raised over the revision after studying the affidavits and position papers submitted to them indicating more irregularities at the Office of the Building Official.

The Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government headed by Distrito conducted a hearing Monday on the complaint of two electrical contractors against some personnel of the OBO who are allegedly engaged in bribery and extortion activities.

Distrito said that, aside from the complaint of the electrical contractors, he has received documents showing that the building permit fee of Mainstream Business Inc., SM’s contractor, had been reduced from P800,000 to only P195,000. Copies of the documents were also distributed to the media.

He asked acting OBO head Isidro Sun Jr. to explain why he revised the previous computation on the building permit of SM made by the OBO head he replaced in July and even lowered the amount to about one-fourth of the original computation.

Distrito also noted that the documents submitted to him had erasures done with the use of liquid eraser and that the computation of the contractor’s application was also reduced from P25 per square meter to only P5 per square meter, he said.

Sun said he reduced the payment because the previous contractor had already secured a building permit. The new contractor is supposed to pay nothing because the previous had already secured one. But the contractor insisted that they are being required by SM to secure a permit, he said.

Sun said the computation for a new construction is P25 per square meters. But the computation for the interior of SM was supposed to be already included in the permit for the main building, he said.


However, Distrito recalled that during the public hearing, all of Sun’s division heads, including the former head of the OBO, Ephraim Hechanova, said that it is not correct, and that Mainstream Business Inc. should secure a permit.

Hechanova said that, under the law, any interior renovation or other improvements inside an establishment will need another permit.

Distrito said they will ask the contractorof SM to submit a position paper on the issue, and also require Sun to explain why he made some erasures in the computation without informing the engineers of OBO who made the project estimates.*CGS

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