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Coast owner, tenants doing business without permits

By Lalaine Jimenea

OBO says owner should get architect, eng’r and should stop making up stories about themORMOC CITY – Call it ignorance of the law, or a willful intention to disregard it, but the newest watering hole in the City called the Coast Resto Park in Brgy. Bat-uan here is operating without a business permit, both the build-ing owner and their tenants. The Coast Resto Park has had a grand opening last October 18, despite the fact that they do not have the proper building and oc-cupancy permits yet. In turn, their 15 tenants do not also have the proper business permits. This was established during a dialog that Mayor Richard Gomez called last week, with Coast Resto Park owner Alice Jean Catingub and the tenants. Mayor Gomez told Catingub and the tenants that, “as much as business-friendly we want to be, we want you to comply with the requirements.”The mayor has given the “food park” until January 7, 2018 to get the necessary permits for their building and business or face closure.He said that he can actually cause the closure of the food park immediately, but in consideration of the tenants who have invested their time and money on their ventures already, he will give them ample time to comply.

Mayor Gomez said he was happy to note that among the ten-ants were the home-based busi-nesses that the food exhibits at the city quadrangle was able to grow, and he really wants to support them. However, he added, that it does not excuse not complying with city ordinances and laws.

No permits, whatsoever

The violation of Coast Resto Park owner Catingub includes not having a permit from the Philip-pine Reclamation Authority for the reclamation they did. They also did not apply for a building permit before they started construction, and ignored a notice from the Office of the Building Off icial (OBO) to stop constructing and secure a permit first.

Then, the plans they submitted for a building permit does not match with the existing structure. The toilets are not tiled, there are not enough of them, and it does not have a PWD ramp.

The owner has also skipped applying for a commercial water connection, and is just connecting to a residential connection; same with their electrical connection.

Since Catingub does not have an occupancy permit to her building which tenants are reportedly renting at P 11,000.00 a month each stall, she does not have a permit to operate it.

The tenants, as well, have been operating without a permit because they cannot get it for the lack of the occupancy permit.

The food stalls operating in the area also do not have sanitary permits.

Each corresponding violation has a penalty, it was further learned. The stiffest comes from the BIR, if the establishment is “tax-mapped.” The first offense, which is operating without BIR registration and no official receipts is already P 20,000.00, and all the tenants could be slapped with it. The tenants are presumed to have no ORs because they cannot apply for a permit to print having no business licenses. Even “branches”, if any, are not exempt.

Tenant feels duped

A tenant, Noel Casuco, said that he was already feeling something was wrong with the food park when he applied for a permit to operate his business. He was told at the city licensing the food park does not have an occupancy permit yet, so he cannot be given a business permit.

However, despite his reservations, he pushed through with opening his store occupying Stall No. 5 and 6 because the food park owners were saying their occupancy permit would be released in time for the opening. Casuco says he does not blame city officials for what is happening, saying it is the fault of the food park operator for not complying with the building permit first and for not being honest with them.

The dialog was attended by councilors Vincent Rama, Benett Pongos, Mario Rodriguez, Goito Yrastorza, Tommy Serafica, and Gerry Penserga. Engr. Sonia Antonio of the Office of Building Off icial (OPO), Emil Tingson of the Business, Permits and Licensing Office, Dr. Nelita Navales of the City Health Office, Engr. Manuel Boholano of the Philippine Ports Authority, and Carmen Daga and a companion of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, also were present.

Stop blaming us- OBO

Meanwhile, architect Ian Oliver of the OBO clarified claims that they were deliberately making it hard for Coast Resto Park to comply with their permit. A tenant posted on his Facebook account hinting that the OBO themselves were contradicting their own recommendations like the width of the PWD ramp. The tenant said OBO recommended a 1.2 meter width but on inspection, said it was wrong and it should be 1.5-meters. Arch. Oliver said that there was nothing wrong with the 1.2-meter ramp.

It was already compliant. But the landing, he said, should have been 1.5-meter. Unfortunately, the landing does not even reach 1.2 meter, he said. Oliver added that it is not even the job of OBO to be recommending these corrections, but in consideration of Mayor Richard Gomez’s order to assist Catingub so that her mistakes are corrected, they have already bent their backs for them. He said this is the job of Catingub’s architect and engineer.

If they don’t have one, he added, then it is time for them to get a professional to guide them on what to do, so that they can stop blaming other people.

The requirement for PWD access, he said, is a provision of the PWD Accessibility Law. “It’s the law,” he said. It was also learned that Catingub wants that the requirement for a PWD compliant comfort room on their second f loor is scrapped, but again, they cannot do that because that would violate the Accessibility Law. Alice Jean Catingub, during the dialog, poured all the blame on a “Julian Domino”, her “industrial partner.”

She said that she was not aware they have been violating building laws since they started because it was Domino who handled everything. Unfortunately, Domino was not around for the dialog to answer or clarify. Records from the OBO show that they visited the illegal construction on June 22, to advise them to stop constructing. By the next day, they issued a notice of violation which the parties refused to receive.

It was only on July 18 that a building permit was applied for, but construction continued. The OBO received the application for inspection/evaluation” only on August 11, 2017. The plans they received was for a straight building that faced the sea. What was actually constructed was Lshaped.

The Coast Resto Park papers were taken out of OBO in August 30, complete with their recommendations on what to comply.

Then, it was re-submitted and taken out again on September 29, also for compliance. Same thing happened on October 23, after the food park has had its grand opening already.

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