Ayala told to address Geonzon wall issue

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita October 24,2014 - 06:32 AM
Cebu City mayor Michael Rama taste one of the tomato before the tomato plants in  Cebu City government own vegetable farm on sitio Sip-Ak barangay Sudlon 1 during his visit with City Hall department heads yesterday.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Cebu City mayor Michael Rama tastes one of the tomatoes at the Cebu City government-owned vegetable farm in Sitio Sip-Ak barangay Sudlon 1 during his visit with City Hall department heads yesterday. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama again chided the lawyer of Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC) for going on the offensive by threatening to sue the city government for declaring its wall along W. Geonzon St. illegal, saying they should reply to his letter.

“Why are they threatening? They should answer my letter first,” Rama told reporters at the City Hall sa Bukid in barangay Taptap yesterday morning.

During his press conference, Rama said CPVDC should make their explanations official and send them to City Hall.

He confirmed that City Hall had sent a letter to CPVDC last Friday demanding an explanation, within ten days, on why the Ayala subsidiary has not demolished the concrete wall which separates the Cebu I.T. Park and the project site of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI).

Cebu Daily News yesterday ran the story, but a mix up in the editing process inadvertently attributed the Ayala subsidiary statement to Filinvest in the article’s headline. A paragraph deep within the story also contained an erroneous reference to Filinvest. The editors regret the error.

In an executive session last Wednesday, CPVDC legal counsel Julius Neri said they will not hesitate to take action against the city government if City Hall pursues with the demolition of the fence.

“It’s transgressing the law. It will make the city vulnerable to civil and criminal action before the Ombudsman. And if CPVDC’s right is violated, we will take action,” Neri told the councilors.

Neri argued that the wall is not illegal and is not a nuisance.

He said the perimeter wall is not stopping anyone from using W. Geonzon St. which is the main access road used by residents of barangay Apas.

Neri claimed that even the barangay captain of Apas, Ramil Ayuman, had confirmed that no one was being prevented from using the road.

Ayuman said he is “not interested” in pursuing the demolition of the wall and only wants to make sure that residents would continue to enjoy unhampered access to W. Geonzon Street.

Rama is strongly supporting the opinion of the City Legal Office that the concrete wall was illegally built and should be torn down. He earlier said the wall could pose a hazard during emergencies since the only access in and out the FLI complex is through Salinas Drive.

The mayor yesterday also debunked his critics who have claimed that he was siding with FLI.

He cited an incident in August last year where City Hall issued a cease and desist order against FLI after the retaining wall on its project site collapsed and damage some houses in sitio Ucma in barangay Apas.

The CPVDC was concerned with City Hall’s insistence on demolishing the wall.

During the executive session, councilors also questioned why the City Legal Office included wall’s demolition in its legal opinion when the City Council was only asking for an opinion about the road itself.

“I’m very surprised. We only asked the opinion of the legal office on the road. But the City Attorney included the wall due to letters from FLI,” Councilor Nestor Archival said.

City Attorney Jerone Castillo admitted that the city has been receiving letters from FLI asking them to demolish the wall claiming that the structure has no fencing permit and is therefore illegal. Castillo however, said he has yet to have this claim validated with the Office of the Building Official.

“(The legal opinion) has to be comprehensive. When there are communications involving the issue, we take it into consideration so that we don’t come up with just a piecemeal resolution,” Castillo told the councilors.

CPVDC Executive Vice President Jun Bisnar said the concrete wall was already there when the property was turned over to them.

“On the issue of illegal construction, we put up some metal supports for the fence because FLI and their contractor are trying to demolish our fence without our permission. In fact there are already two holes on the fence,” Bisnar said. He added that the fence was part of a development permit issued by the City Hall in 1997.

“If Atty. Castillo really did proper study on the issue, he should have asked CPVDC instead of issuing opinions based on the letter of FLI. Before they made the opinion, they should have asked us,” Bisnar said.

But Castillo disagreed and said there have been dialogues and meetings regarding the issue and the CPVDC even sent a position paper together with some documents.

The city legal officer however gave his assurance that they are open to reviewing the issue.
“We will review if there are requests,” Castillo said.

MOUNTAIN ROADS

The mayor was in the satellite City Hall in barangay of Taptap yesterday after touring several mountain barangays yesterday morning.

He pointed out the need for more farm-to-market roads to help farmers sell their produce without middlemen who buy their fruits and vegetables and sell them at a more expensive price in the lowland markets.

City Agriculture Department (CAD) chief Joselito Baclayon said there is an approved P120 million budget from the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 for farm-to-market roads in the city.

“These are currently undergoing bidding. We are expecting these to be implemented by early next year,” Baclayon said.

For the City’s part, Rama said he has included P200 million road concreting projects for mountain barangays under the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) in his proposed P18.9 billion budget for next year.

Related Stories:

‘Do not threaten me’ – Rama

Filinvest secures PEZA greenlight; Rama wants end to dispute

Geonzon Street to remain open to public

 

 

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TAGS: Apas, Cebu City, Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp., Filinvest, Geonzon, Rama

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