The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) agreed to look into disturbing allegations of irregularities surrounding the ongoing construction of a proposed 12-story hotel at the beachfront of Alona Beach in Barangay Danao, Panglao even as DataLand Inc., the registered owner of the hotel maintained they have complied with all the stringent requirements involving local and national laws.
The SP, in its regular session on Friday, November 24, 2017, at the Benigno S.Aquino session hall gave due course to a complaint filed by Panglao Councilor Rogelin Degoma addressed to Governor Edgar Chatto, copy furnished the SP on November 7, 2017.
Degoma sought the assistance of Chatto to “further investigate and take whatever action to ease the fear and worries of our people, stakeholders, and the Alona Beach community.”
In her letter, Degoma appealed to the Governor “to intervene on the issues and concerns haunting the tourism industry in Panglao particularly on the several constructions that are not compliant on pertinent laws, specifically on easement and road right of way which is own townfolks are being deprived of their right of way.”
The Provincial Legal Office referred the letter of Degoma to the SP prompting 2nd District Board Member Atty. Tomas Abapo to move that the inquiry will be heard by the SP “as a committee of the whole” considering that “this is an item of importance not only to the municipality of Panglao but to the province of Bohol.”
The action of the SP has overtaken the anticipated move of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Panglao to conduct its own inquiry “in aid of legislation” to harmonize conflicting provisions under the Panglao Island Tourism Estate (PITE), a municipal ordinance adopting the rules and regulations of the PITE, the approved Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and RA 9497 known as the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008, according to Degoma.
DataLand Engineer Roy Lachica and Panglao Municipal Engineer and Office of the Building Official (OBO) head Rogelio Bunao told the Chronicle that they welcome the scheduled SP hearing to take the opportunity to state their positions on the controversy.
Also, the Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce (PICC) will also conduct its own 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.
Mayor Leonila Montero gave her imprimatur for the construction of the 12-story Ivy Wall Bohol Resort and Hotel owned by DataLand through a certification issued on May 7, 2017, based on a proposed zoning ordinance and Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of Panglao.
The building permit was signed by Municipal Engineer and Building Official Rogelio Bonao on June 19, 2017, after the construction was cleared by then Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator Jovencia Asilo.
AGAINST PUBLIC INTEREST
Understanding her limitations as a municipal councilor with regards to the “enforcement of laws and policies for environmental protection”, Degoma raised her concerns over the apparent inability of the executive department to implement municipal ordinances governing structures erected in Panglao.
Degoma questioned the granting of a building permit to DataLand Inc. for the 12-story hotel in Alona Beach “even if they have obtained CAAP clearance” which she claimed clearly runs counter to “Rule No.ll and Rule No. V sections 1-5 of PITE ordinance and Municipal Ordinance No. 7, series of 1998 adopting the rules and regulations governing the activities of the PITE.”
According to Degoma, the issuance of the building permit is legally questionable since the municipal ordinances “clearly stipulates the height restrictions of structures within the tourism area” and the absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is required prior to the construction.
During the Executive-Legislative Monthly Meeting on November 17, 2017, a consensus was reached among the executive, especially the Office of the Building Official (OBO) to allow the construction of the hotel 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).
A perspective of the hotel was presented during the meeting by Danilo Mante Jr., Head – Business Development showing three stories at the front, followed by another four stories and the 12 stories at the rear.
Mante also said that they followed the advice of MPDC Head Asilo to design their buildings in “ascending order” with the tallest structure constructed at the rear of their property.
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.
RA 9497 known as the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008, authorizes the CAAP authority to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to the height of buildings, antennae, and other edifices to provide for safety and efficiency in air navigation.
The reference point for prospective construction of high rise edifices in Panglao should not exceed the 174 meters Bolod Hill, according to OBO head Engr. Bunao.
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. (Chito M. Visarra)