A 10-STORY condominium building that will house retired police and military personnel is being developed in Sitio Candarong, Barangay Pulangbato, Cebu City.
Initially, there was no opposition to the project. The papers were also in order, which was why it was given the go-ahead.
But during the public hearing conducted at the barangay hall on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2021, some residents complained.
The recent rains have made the area muddy and, at times, almost impassable.
Carmelita Lunay, 66, said a number of people, most of them senior citizens and persons with disability, have already fallen on the slippery road leading to the project site, which also serves as the only access to the chapel in the sitio.
Cora Rivas, construction manager of developer Kit Properties Inc., said what they are doing now is conducting site development, which is the first step in developing the site.
The lot is being leveled in preparation for further development, such as the installation of a drainage system and the construction of the building, she said.
The road and the area around it were bound to get muddy because of the rains, she said.
Residents also raised their concern for road right-of-way.
Apparently, some of them will be cut off from the main road once the development will be completed.
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck in March last year, thousands visited the chapel and a procession of the image of the Sto. Niño was held every January, Lunay said.
“Asa ang gipresentar namo karon? Kung duna ba’y gihatag namo nga agianan nga para sa fire truck, sa ambulance, ug kung mag-prusisyon mi,” asked Lunay.
(Have they shown us an alternative? Did they give us a plan for an access road that can be used by a fire truck, an ambulance and for our procession?)
Janine Higanto, project unit head, said they will build a six-meter access road; however, it will not be on the same spot since the current road will be included in the development.
To address both problems, Pulangbato Barangay Administrator Kaven Seno said the developer should first build the new access road.
Higanto said they will look into the matter.
Meanwhile, Dennis Casas, another resident, said there was no “real” public hearing before the start of the site development. That was why he and his neighbors were surprised when they saw the heavy equipment at the project site, he said.
He said he went to the barangay and asked to be shown documents on the project.
He said he, Lunay and other chapel-goers also launched a signature campaign asking Vice Mayor Michael Rama to intervene so they can keep the access road.
The campaign garnered 742 signatures, he said.
Pulangbato Barangay Captain Marlene Macua, for her part, said a public hearing was conducted prior to the start of the site development which was the reason the Barangay Council was able to issue a certificate of no objection to the developer.
Macua said Kit Properties Inc. had submitted all necessary documents and even told the barangay that President Rodrigo Duterte would be present at the groundbreaking, which was supposed to be held last July.
“Sa way duha-duha, kay wa man ta’y complainant sa mga yuta, sakto man sila sa docoments, ang barangay nihatag og resolution nga makaproceed na sila,” said Macua.
(There were no claimants to the land and all their documents were in order so the barangay didn’t have any second thoughts passing a resolution allowing the developer to proceed with the project.)
But the health crisis meant the notice of award had to be moved to August and civil works couldn’t start until around November, he said.
City Councilor Jerry Guardo, who chairs the technical infrastructure committee, said he issued a clearance to the developer because it had all the documents.
But with the concerns raised by residents, he said he will inspect the area within the month.
If the developer has committed any violations, he will launch an investigation, he said.
Guardo said the barangay captain has the power to issue a cease and desist order if there’s anything amiss, especially if environmental laws are broken.
Higanto said they will face any complaints filed against them.