Panglao beachfront hotel eyes appeal to DPWH; claims millions of losses

The ongoing construction of a 12-story beachfront hotel in Alona Beach, Panglao, now on its sixth floor is facing legal and financial hurdles after its building permit was ordered recalled and amended by the Office of the Building Official (OBO) of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Panglao.

Danilo Mante Jr., Head of Business Development of DATALAND, INC. (Dataland) informed Municipal Engineer Rogelio S. Bunao in a letter on March 16, 2018 that the order of recall and amendment of its approved building permit “will indubitably cause great prejudice to Dataland as the latter incurred and will continue to incur damages amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos.”

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According to Mante, the damages represent amounts already committed in awarded contracts, “but will be unutilized due to the unlawful amendment of its building permit from 12-storeys to 5-6 storeys.”

Mante also warned Bunao that “should your position on the matter remain unchanged, Dataland will be constrained to elevate on appeal your order of recall and amendment to the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.”

Mark A. Villar is the current DPWH Secretary and under the National Building Code (NBC), the building official, which is the municipal engineer in municipalities is under the supervision of the DPWH Secretary.

The letter from Mante was in response to the denial by Bunao of Dataland’s appeal to “reverse and set aside” its notice of recall and amendment of its building permit issued on February 15, 2018.

STANDING FIRM

Bunao, in a six-page resolution on March 6, 2018, denied the motion for reconsideration (MR) of Dataland and affirmed the Notice of Recall and Amendment of the building permit dated February 15, 2018.

Refuting the claims of Dataland that they were denied their right to due process, Bunao pointed to a Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) committee hearing on December 12, 2017 where Dataland “actively participated and in fact offered their side of the story” and letters sent to White Port, Inc., contractor of Dataland for an  on-site inspection.

A perspective of the hotel was shown by Mante during the SP committee hearing showing three stories at the front, followed by another four stories and the 12 stories at the rear. 

Bunao asserted that the letters and SP hearing “be construed as a substantial compliance of due process of notice and hearing.”

On the position of Dataland that height limits set by the municipality do not apply to areas covered by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) height restrictions, Bunao maintained that local ordinances should prevail putting Dataland in compliance with existing local ordinances.

WRONG INTERPRETATION

Mante, in his answer to the MR denial, rebuked Bunao for “wittingly or unwittingly” ignoring the correct application of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of Panglao “insisting on enforcing a general rule” when both the municipal ordinances “categorically provide for an exception.”

Mante admitted that the general rule states that establishments within the beach zone shall observe height limits of 3 stories or 15 meters from the original ground line for the first 50 meters from the easement and thereafter, may increase to five stories.

But the exception categorically states, according to Mante, that the height limit on beach zones does not apply to areas “covered by height restrictions set by the Air Transportation Office (ATO) within the airport vicinity.”

CAAP which replaced the ATO granted to Dataland a Height Clearance Permit (HCP) on January 25, 2017, for the construction of  a proposed 46.25 meters high Ivy Wall Hotel Building with a top elevation of 53 meters in its 1,647 square meters beachfront property at Barangay Danao “which falls within the vicinity of Tagbilaran Airport.”

FULL COMPLIANCE

Mante spoke to the Chronicle expressing dismay over the denial of their MR by Bunao even as they were granted a building permit on June 19, 2017, for the construction of a 12-story beachfront hotel in Alona Beach, Barangay Danao.

“We maintain that we have complied with all the necessary requirements for our 12-story hotel as evidenced by the issuance of a building permit by the OBO”, according to Mante.

The building permit for the construction of a 12-story hotel was later recalled and amended from the approved 12-story to only five to six stories.

Bunao scrapped the building permit that his office issued after a site inspection conducted on February 13, 2018, found that the “exact position” of a proposed 12-story hotel is “to be positioned within the beach zone which is 100 meters inland from the established 20 meters easement.”

“Your proposed 12-story building is violating specific provisions of the physical development guidelines of the municipal zoning ordinance” and ordered the building proponent to scale down the number of stories to “only 5-6 stories based on height restrictions on the beach zone.”, according to the recall order of Bunao.

Section 306 of building code empowers the OBO to order the non-issuance, suspension or revocation of building permits for non-compliance with the provisions of the NBC or of any rule or regulation, according to Bunao.

According to the building permit application signed by Roy Bayani C. Lachica, Technical Services Head, the corporation paid a total of  PhP250,118.03 in permit fees for the PhP500.5 million hotel with a total floor area of 14,403.93 sq.m.

Purchased for PhP49.110 million or PhP30 thousand per square meters, 

construction started in April 2017 while the expected date of completion will be in  July 2019. (Chito M. Visarra)



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