Why mall owner won’t demolish creek structures
The Oriente theater complex, where Colonnade Mall and Supermarket is located, already existed even before a law was passed delineating the three meter easement from water bodies, company lawyer Mark Avila said.
Avila said the Cebu City government lacks basis to order the mall and supermarket management to voluntarily remove or demolish their “illegal structures” built beside a creek in Cebu City.
He said Colonnade Mall and Supermarket will continue to operate despite threats of closure by the city government.
“How can we follow the law when at the time of the construction, the law never existed?” he told lawyer Jose Daluz III, chairman of the Reduce Eliminate Danger Zone (REDZ).
Daluz told Avila and two other companions during their meeting that the city government is trying to solve the encroachment of the three meter easement to reduce flooding in the city.
Avila and theater officer Jorly Maloloy-on met with Daluz at City Hall together with Colonnade supermarket building administrator Crismad Tesado.
It was Daluz first meeting with representatives of commercial establishments after notices of violation were sent last week to seven establishments.
Colonnade Mall and Supermarket received their notice last Friday.
REDZ is initially targeting 10 establishments including Colonnade Mall.
Maloloy-on said Teatro Junquera now known as Oriente Theater was established in 1875.
Avila’s grandfather, Don Jose Avila, acquired the property in the 1920s and built the complex as an expansion of the theater.
The young Avila showed Daluz a copy of an 1873 map of downtown Cebu City to show that Teatro Junquera was in the area.
Avila also pointed out that most of the legal grounds cited in the notice of violation were laws passed between 1950 to 2007.
The laws cited in the notice of violation include the Civil Code of the Philippines passed in 1950 and Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines that was passed in 1976.
The notice also mentioned Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and City Ordinance No. 2115 which prohibits unauthorized extraction of sand and gravel from riverbanks which was passed in 2007.
Daluz asked the business representatives if it was possible for them to take care of the clean up of part of the Mahiga creek behind their buildings.
“But that is not feasible,” Avila said pointing to conditions of the building.
Avila said issues on flooding and managiement of water bodies is a primary responsibility of the city government.
Still, Maloloy-on admitted that their premises was flooded at least three times since the mall was built in the ‘90s.
While their business is elevated and located higher than the sidewalk, there have been instances when rainwater would flood the walkway that leads to their mall. The management acquired three water pumps in 2013.
Two are used to pump rain and floodwater from their Colon Street entrance while the third one is used on their Legazpi Street side.
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