The construction of “Ivy Wall Bohol Resort and Hotel”, a twelve-storey beachfront hotel in Alona Beach, Barangay Tawala, Panglao will be allowed to proceed pending resolution of certain “grey areas” surrounding the height limitations of buildings covered by provisions of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Panglao and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
This was the consensus reached during the Executive-Legislative Monthly Meeting of the LGU-Panglao on November 17, 2017, even as the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and the Office of the Building Official (OBO) will conduct separate meetings to resolve serious concerns raised by apprehensive stakeholders.
The threat of cancellation of the building permit issued to DataLand was raised by Municipal Engineer and Office of the Building Official Rogelio Bonao after reports of diggings, seepage of wastewater into the sea from the construction site and perceived violations of the National Building Code (NBC) reached his office.
Section 306 of the National 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.
The assailed PhP500.5 million 12-storey hotel owned by DataLand, Inc. will soon rise on a 1,637 sq.m. property in Alona Beach purchased for PhP49.110 million or PhP30 thousand per square meters.
The Executive-Legislative Monthly Meeting tackled the brewing controversy caused by the issuance of a building permit for the construction of the 12-storey hotel along the “elbow room only” beachfront area of Alona Beach that bothered neighbouring resorts alarmed by the negative impact on the environment.
Much to the consternation of resort owners near-by, the building of a 12-storey structure reached the Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce (PICC) which raised the issue directly to Mayor Leonila Montero and was informed that the building was only a six-storey.
According to Rommel Gonzalez, PICC President, the height of the proposed hotel will serve as the benchmark for all buildings along the beachfront of Panglao whose owners are keenly awaiting the response of the LGU on the future of building construction in Panglao.
However, according to Bunao “ongoing initial construction of what appears to be a three-storey building complies with the setback and height requirements as provided by the CLUP and CAAP.”
But during the meeting, Bunao made an emotional appeal to the LGU officials present to “please help me how to solve this problem because I cannot solve this alone.”
Bunao was apparently referring to the manner approval of building applications under the CLUP are being carried out before it reaches his office.
The CLUP considered a blueprint for local development should be used to respond to the current constraints and challenges in the development of Panglao, according to Bunao.
Bunao, in an interview with the Chronicle after the meeting, disclosed that it is the Mayor that gives the final approval of applications of building permits with regards to CLUP compliance with the MPDC giving the recommending approval/disapproval.
The building permit was signed by Bonao on June 19, 2017, with the corporation paying a total of PhP250,118.03 permit fees according to copies of building permit application of DataLand furnished to the Chronicle.
The resort will have a total floor area of 14,403.96 sq.m.The construction started in April 2017 while the expected date of completion will be in July 2019 as stated in the building permit application.
Present during the meeting were Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero, Vice Mayor Pedro Fuertes, SB presiding officer, municipal councilors, LGU heads and representatives from Ivy Wall Bohol Resort Hotel owned by DataLand, Inc. led by Danilo Mante Jr., Head – Business Development.
AIR SAFETY ASSURED
Mante stressed that they have complied with all the requirements of the CLUP ordinance of the LGU more especially the height limitation requirements of the CAAP and assured the officials of Panglao that they are in close coordination with the OBO through a periodic assessment on the progress of the project.
Mante also revealed that they were in close coordination with then Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator (MPDC) Jovencia Asilo during the planning stages of the project.
Responding to questions on the relevance of CAAP height limitations with regards to CLUP height restrictions, Mante cited cited RA 9497 known as the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008, pointing out CAAP’s authority to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to height of buildings, antennae and other edifices to provide for safety and efficiency in air navigation.
Bunao also made known that the reference point for prospective construction of high rise edifices in Panglao should not exceed the 174 meters Bolod Hill.
Asilo, who just recently retired and was called by the Mayor to shed light on the hotel project said that she advised engineers of DataLand to design their buildings in “ascending order” with the tallest structure constructed at the rear of their property.
Heeding the advice of Asilo, a perspective of the hotel was shown during the meeting by Mante with three storeys at the front, followed by another four storeys and the 12 storeys at the rear.
Montero, admitting that certain lapses over interpretations on height limitations as provided by the CLUP and the CAAP are starting to surface, gave her assurance that these issues will be addressed thru proposed legislation in the SB.
POLITICS, VESTED INTERESTS
The Mayor also admitted that she informed Rommel Gonzalez, General Manager of Bellevue Resort and President of the Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce (PICC) that the hotel was a six-storey building.
“I told him why make an issue of DataLand when your hotel is seven storeys with two storeys underground and residents complaining about the manner your hotel dispose of your waste.”
Gonzalez, when asked for his reaction to Montero’s accusations said that they never received any complaint from the Mayor’s office.
Montero also fired broadsides against her political rivals – Municipal Councilor Rogelin Degoma and former Panglao Mayor Dr Doloreich Dumaluan for injecting politics into development programs of the municipality.
Montero called Degoma, “for lack of anything to do” engages in “meddling with the workings of the environment committee of the SB headed by Noel Hormachuelos ” and instigating intrigues in the SB and on social media.
Montero reacted to the news article of the Chronicle on November 12, 2017, on Degoma’s statement that Panglao LGU has an approved not proposed, as stated in the Mayor’s certification to DataLand, a Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and zoning ordinance.
The PICC will pursue its inquiry into the construction of the hotel along Alona Beach and will extend an invitation to officials of DataLand, Inc. on their next regular meeting to shed more light on their project to assuage the anxieties of concerned stakeholders.
Also, the OBO will track the progress of the project construction through periodic inspection as required by the National Building Code. (Chito M. Visarra)