On Metro Safari Resort in Alangilan, Bacolod: SANGGUNIAN COMMITTEE REPORT
The undersigned as Chairperson of the Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government hereby submits this Committee Report relative to the Letter-Inquiry of Barangay Kagawads Alex Sausi and Donard Alimpolo, Barangay Alangilan pertaining to alleged various violations of Mr. Francis Rey Cabuga in establishing METRO SAFARI RESORT without government clearance and permit, docketed as SP Correspondence No. 08-13-0551, held last November 29, 2013 at SP Session Hall, New Government Center.
HON. CAESAR Z. DISTRITO - Chairperson, Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government
APPEARANCES: [see attached attendance sheet]
Councilor Caesar Z. Distrito, Chairperson of the Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government explained to the body that the Committee Hearing was called to address the complaint of Kagawads Alex Sausi and Donard Alimpolo of Brgy. Alangilan as to the ongoing construction of facilities of Metro Safari Resort at Brgy. Alangilan, Bacolod City.
Kagawad Donard Alimpolo and Alex Sausi told the Chair that they sought the assistance of the Sangguniang Panlungsod in order for them to be guided if the initiative made by the owner of Metro Safari Resort, Mr. Francis Rey Cabuga is legal and if they have complied with the necessary requirements as prescribed by law. They added that the property is a CARP area and thus, they have sought the intervention of the DAR with regard to this issue considering that the agency is responsible in handling agrarian reform issues.
Mr. Jose Dureza, Representative from the Office of the Building Official informed the body, that as of the moment, the office has not received any application for Building Permit from Metro Safari Resort;
Atty. Ma. Cecilia Q. Soriano, Legal Counsel of Francis Rey Cabuga said that the materials for construction are ready but no actual construction is happening yet. She told the Chair that there is an existing fence in the area prior to the purchase of the property.
Kagawad Alex Sausi, in relation to what Atty. Soriano said commented that there are already existing structures in the area and that he even saw that the construction for the other structures had already started.
Hon. El Cid M. Familiaran then showed some pictures of the area where Metro Safari Resort is located, which he took prior to attending the Committee Hearing. It showed in the pictures that there are ongoing construction activities in the area;
Raymund T. Quinto, Executive Assistant of Metro Safari Resort said that the construction of the foundations of the establishment had already started and that when asked by the Chair if they had secured the building permit, he answered that they are still processing the same;
Mr. Edgardo Rostata from CENRO-DENR told the Chair that the Regional Director of EMB, Atty. Jonathan Bulos told him that the Regional Office did not receive any application for an ECC from Metro Safari Resort;
Engr. Max Sillo, Head of ENRO-Bacolod told the Chair that there should be an ECC prior to application of Building Permit.
Engr. Ana Ma. Carmen Principe, OIC-CPDO said that as per City Ordinance 216, the area was classified as agricultural.
Francis Aranez, Zoning Officer of CPDO said that before construction, a zoning clearance should be requested from their office, and if it will be converted from agricultural to parks, CO 216 should be amended;
Atty. Maphlindo Polvora, City Assessor of Bacolod added that it cannot just be converted from agricultural to commercial for there is a need to amend CO 216 first;
Mr. Harlan Tugot from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) told the Chair that there is no pending application for DAR clearance in their office from Metro Safari Resort. He said that the place is considered as a CARP area and can only be sold to the government, to LandBank or be acquired through hereditary succession. He added that the person who bought the property should apply for conversion at the DAR-Central Office;
Engr. Ignacio Cabayao, Jr., Chief of Operations of DAR-Negros Occidental supported the statement of Mr. Tugot and added that DAR has the sole authority for conversion of CARP lands. He added that there should be no activity to be done prior to the approval of the conversion order and that a zoning clearance should be requested by the owner from the City Planning Office.
Hon. El Cid M. Familiaran said that the Chair is not criticizing the issue at hand or the owner of the establishment being questioned. The issue was addressed because there was a complaint. He added that the Baywalk and Unicity were closed because they did not comply the requirements of the law thus is just to be fair with everybody.
Atty. Soriano told the body that Mr. Cabuga sought her assistance in applying the necessary requirements of DAR and other pertinent government clearances and as of the moment they were processing the said documents. She added that Mr. Cabuga is a law abiding citizen and he will comply all government clearances necessary for the operation of Metro Safari Resort.
In summary the following inputs were solicited from the resource persons who were invited to the Committee Hearing, to wit:
BARANGAY COUNCIL OF BRGY. ALANGILAN – The Barangay Council denied the request of favorable endorsement by Metro Safari Resort as it failed to comply with the mandatory requirements of law as per Opinion of DAR/MARO;
OFFICE OF THE BUILDING OFFICIAL - No Building Permit Application as of the moment. No construction can be started without obtaining the same from OBO;
HON. ELCID FAMILIARAN – There are ongoing construction activities in the area as shown by the pictures which he personally took prior to the Committee Hearing;
CENRO-DENR - There is no pending application for an ECC with the office. Before construction can be started, ECC is a requirement which cannot be dispensed with by the owner;
ENRO-BACOLOD - ECC is a requirement before a Building Permit can be issued;
CPDO - The area subject matter of the Committee Hearing is still classified as agricultural. Before a Building Permit can be issued, a zoning clearance must first be issued by the office. However, there is a need to amend the Ordinance as the existing one still classifies the area as AGRICULTURAL;
OFFICE OF THE CITY ASSESSOR - The need for the amendment of the """"‘
METRO SAFARI RESORT- There is a pending application for Building Permit and there is no ongoing construction in the site. However, these claims of Metro Safari are belied by the statement of OBO and the pictures as presented by the Hon. Elcid Familiaran;
Based on the discussions during the Committee Hearing and on the previous stand of the City Council on similar issues of failure to comply with the mandatory permits such as the Baywalk and the Unicity controversies, The Committee hereby recommends the following:
1.- Metro Safari Resort, owned by Mr. Francis Rey Cabuga should temporarily stop its development considering that they are still in the process of complying with the necessary government permits such as the Building Permit from the Office of the Building Official, Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to be issued by EMR-Regional Office, CPDO certification, resolution of favorable endorsement from the barangay and DAR conversion clearances;
2.- The Office of the Building Official is directed to issue a Notice of Violation and Work Stoppage to Metro Safari Resort ordering them to desist from the on-going construction and to require them to comply with the necessary permits.
December 2, 2013 Bacolod City, Philippines.
Prepared and submitted by:
HON. CAESAR Z. DISTRITO
Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government
BENEDICK J. LEDESMA