GAISANO CAPITAL Ormoc, which burned down last July 23, was not insured. This, city officials learned this week after the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) wrote city administrator Vincent Emnas that their office has no records of its coverage.
The mall occupies a cityowned building right in the middle of the city proper, valued at P 75-million, on a 24-year lease. Their lease would have expired on July 2019. After the fire, the mall management reported a loss of P 190-million. It is not clear if this includes the building, valued at P 75-million. Vincent Emnas, city administrator, said that Gaisano’s legal team visited his office after the fire. They were insistent that the building was insured with GSIS as stipulated in their lease contract.
So, he filed the claim only to be answered that it was not insured with them. It was previous, GSIS said, but no renewal was filed. Sol Orcullo, GSIS branch manager, informed the city administrator
that their records show the building was not covered at the time of loss. “Please be advised that upon verification of our records, we found out that we have issued the Policy No. FIGIG- GSISTAC-0000303 covering the property for fire and lighting, among others, for the period April 15,2013 to April 15,2014. No application for renewal was received by the System, thus, at the time of loss, no insurance coverage was issued. We strictly follow the no policy, no indemnification policy.” Emnas added that the City’s Yolanda claim on the same build ing is still pending. He said that even if Yolanda happened in 2013 yet, it was only during the Gomez administration in 2016 that the claim was filed. Why the previous administration did not file the claim, he said he could not answer for them.
Mayor Richard Gomez, on learning about the non-coverage, said they would be studying the legal steps to take in Gaisano’s case. “As far as I am concerned, that’s a breach of contract and a ground for termination of the contract,” he said.
To recall, the Gaisano Capital Ormoc went up in flames midnight of July 23. The fire, which was contained within the mall premises, continued to burn until July 25 in the morning.
On the other hand, mall locators who were occupying stalls at the sides of the mall, are thankful to Mayor Richard Gomez and Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez for bringing up their problem to the Chief Fire Marshall.
Warren Chu, owner of Cellworks, said it was only this week that they were able to get in to their stores, because the local fire station would not give them clearance. He said that they were able to retrieve their stocks, which were in surprisingly good condition. “I was able to retrieve my stocks. The others, especially the pawnshops, were happy to retrieve their jewelries,” he said.
He also lauded the Ormoc police for a job well done in controlling the crowd while the fire was going on, and for securing their stores from looters from the time the “fire out” was declared until the time they were allowed to get their stocks.