Cebu City moves to demolish parts of Mango Ave. hotel, restaurant

THE Cebu City Government will issue a notice of violation to two big establishments on Gen. Maxilom Ave. (old name Mango Ave.) for violating the three-meter easement, paving the way for the demolition of the portions of these establishments that encroach on the Lahug-Kamputhaw-Tejero River.

Joelito Baclayon, Lahug River commander, told SunStar Cebu Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, that the City Legal Office may issue the notice to White Knight Hotel and Lighthouse Restaurant on Friday, Nov. 11.

The City has pointed to the two establishments, among others, as major contributors to flooding in the area after an incident in October 2020 when unprecedented flooding on the street following torrential rains claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy, who was swept by floodwaters into the river clogged with trash and obstructed by encroaching structures.

Last Tuesday, during a Gubat sa Baha Task Force meeting at the Mayor’s Office, Baclayon had said “a portion of White Knight Hotel encroached (on) the nearby river, while the parking lot of Lighthouse Restaurant was built on top of the river,” the City’s Public Information Office (PIO) said.

The City had spoken with the management of both establishments about their violation in October, during which the managements agreed to demolish the encroaching portions of their establishments themselves.

However, Baclayon said, a visit to the sites last Tuesday revealed that no demolition had taken place, which is why he said the City would now be serving the notice of violation to the establishments.

The issuance of the notice would allow the City to undertake the demolition itself.

Baclayon told SunStar Thursday that the two establishments had already been informed about the imminent service of the notice of violation.

“The owners themselves were already informed that they will be receiving a notice of violation,” Baclayon said.

With the notice, Baclayon said, the establishments would “still have an option to self-demolish. They can even contest (the demolition).”

As for the timeline for the demolition, while he had said last Tuesday that it would be undertaken this month as soon as notice had been served, Baclayon on Thursday said it would depend on what would finally be specified in the notice.

He said the City was starting with these two establishments as they had been identified as major reasons why the water flow in the area had been restricted.

But he said the City had already done an inventory “starting from Busay, down to that area, down to the Tinago River, which is the river system of the Lahug River” on other structures, including houses, that were within the three-meter easement, and that these would likely be targeted for clearing next.

Under Presidential Decree 1067 or The Water Code of the Philippines: “The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind.”

SunStar Cebu tried to reach the managements of White Knight and Lighthouse for comment. However, White Knight’s phone remained unattended while representatives of Lighthouse had yet to issue a statement as of press time. (CTL, JKV)