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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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TIGHT ROPE
WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY

City Mall permits

Tightrope

Perhaps our city officials and company think that we ordinary people are just too naïve that we cannot understand how the government bureaucracy works. Because of our ignorance they should be more understanding when we ask a lot of questions. After all without any reason we will not be asking questions, would we?

Well then, let's get back to the permit of City Mall. From the looks of it, City Mall has an occupancy permit. If it does not have, why is that building open to the public and stores there transact business like in any other? Ergo, it must have a permit.

If it has a permit, why would Atty. Angelica Rojas of the Bacolod City Legal Office write Chiles Marie Tayo for an audience to take a look at the “partial occupancy permit” of Tayo's business in that mall?

There are a few more questions seeking answers.

First: Why would a law enforcer (CLO) be asking for an “audience” with a business woman that the CLO think has a non-existent permit? Is that proper for her to go there? Should she not instead ask the businesswoman to come to her office at the BCGC and present the alleged partial occupancy permit? Rojas is an enforcer of the law; she does not ask permission for an audience. A lot of things can happen in this kind of meeting.

Second: When has it been that an emailed partial occupancy permit is acceptable for a business permit? Should not the burden of proof be on Tayo to present the original, or at least, a certified true copy? Should not this clarification be in writing rather than in an audience in Tayo's office?

Third: if the project-in-charge of the mall has admitted as early as November 28, 2016 that he had no knowledge of a partial occupancy permit having been issued, why is the mall occupied by lessees that are doing business? Is this allowed by law? Is this fair to the other buildings that had to secure a clearance before opening their structure for business or operation?

Fourth: Rojas was reported saying “we are in the process of looking into the veracity” of the claim of a partial occupancy? What's the point? The mall in charge admitted there is no permit, yet it opened for business. Despite the admission Rojas wrote for clarification and an audience with Tayo.

Of course the city needs to know who sent the email to the lessee. How about the others? What kind of permit did they present? Who issued their business permits? What kind of occupancy permit did they present to get to their licenses?

Fifth: Why is it that only Tayo is asked, when others are also operating in the mall?

The report says that the document presented to Rojas is clearly fraudulent from its face. The name of the person who signed the alleged permit is not the person in charge of Office of the Building Official of Bacolod. This could mean so-called occupancy permit is a fake and therefore a crime has been committed.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan is right. Something is irregular, starting with his assistant seeking audience with Tayo.

If indeed the owner of the mall is “hesitant” to answer where she got the alleged fake permit, then by all means, get that establishment closed until it produce a genuine clearance. If she said she talked with Isidro Sun of OBO, then Sun should be made to explain in writing what they “talked about” that allowed the mall to open.

If OBO and other officials were honest, they should already have closed that mall since November. We know it is not just the OBO that signs an occupancy permit. What about the others?

This is the wonder of the citizens. Why is a building that cannot present an occupancy permit allowed to open? Can business permits be issued in a building without an occupancy permit? Why is there dilly-dallying? The mall does not bother because it continues to operate even with a permit nobody wants to admit to have issued. Are there no signatures?

The implications are great. It opens precedence for similar cases in the future and creates opportunities for corruption. Dirty money could have exchanged hands. That is the only plausible explanation for this merry-go- round and dribbling in applying city and national laws.*

           

 

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