DHUD to Obo: 'Scrutinize projects to protect buyers'

Johanna Marie O. Bajenting

WITH the non-stop construction of high-rise buildings in Metro Cebu, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD), formerly Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, reminds developers to make sure that the structural integrity of their buildings can withstand natural calamities like earthquakes.

Francis Ordeniza, Director of the DHUD of Central Visayas, told SunStar Cebu that buildings should be able to withstand an 8.4 magnitude earthquake.

“High-rise buildings should be able to resist an earthquake of that magnitude,” he said.

He also encouraged building officials to scrutinize projects they will approve to protect the welfare of the buyers of the development.

In case of calamities and disasters, Ordeniza said it is up to the building official of a particular local government unit (LGU) to make sure the rights of the buyers are respected.

“What we issued, the License To Sell (LTS), one of the requirements especially in condominiums, is there has to be a building permit. As to the integrity of the structural design of a high-rise condo, the one who will determine that will not be us but the building official of the LGU,” he said.

On Oct. 31, 2019, Ecoland 4000, which was developed by the real estate arm of DMCI Holdings Inc., partially collapsed after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Davao City.

The same earthquake also affected two buildings in the Palmetto Place that were issued a condemnation order, while Verdon Parc was reported to have also been affected.

Ecoland 4000 and Palmetto Place are projects of DMC-Urban Property Developers Inc. while Verdon Parc is a project of DMCI Project Developers Inc.

The incident pointed to the need for real estate firms to place importance on the integrity of their structures in the face of calamities.

DMCI Holdings Inc. chief executive officer Isidro Consunji said they will pay back the residents of Ecoland 4000. The DHUD said buyers can approach its office if the developer fails to deliver what it promised.

“If the building official finds out that the structure is not compliant to the specifications as required in the approved building permit, that will be one of the bases the buyer could chase and ask for compensation for,” Ordeniza said.

Cebu has become a hotbed of investments particularly in real estate.

In its Cebu Property Outlook report, Colliers International Philippines expects delivery of 5,460 condominium units from 2020 to 2021.

The bulk of these will come from Cebu City, but quite a significant number of these units will also come from Mandaue City.

Real estate broker Anthony Gerard Leuterio, founder of Filipino Homes, said there is an estimated P300 billion worth of real estate properties available for sale in 2020, of which 40 percent are in Cebu City.

“Real estate remains promising in 2020. We have plenty of properties to sell. It will still be a busy year for the industry,” said Leuterio. (with KOC)