Illegal construction

City may sue radio station, other for construction in Shrine Hills
BUILDING officials will look into the possibility of filing of charges against proprietors of at least two lots at the top of the Shrine Hills.

City Engineer Joseph Dominic Felizarta, in an interview yesterday morning, revealed that owners of two properties did not secure a permit for the building construction and renovation at Shrine Hills.

Felizarta said he has endorsed to the City Building Office (CBO) the matter.

One of the properties involved a radio station with a building that is under renovation, and the other is a house owner.

According to Felizarta, the CBO will determine if the owners of the properties could be liable under the National Building Code.

Section 301 of Presidential Decree 1096 (PD) 1096 declares that “no person, firm or corporation, including any agency or instrumentality of the government shall erect, construct, alter, repair, move, convert or demolish any building or structure or cause the same to be done without first obtaining a building permit therefor from the Building Official assigned in the place where the subject building is located or the building work is to be done.”

The city government has ordered the stoppage of the construction in Shrine Hills as early as August.

Cracks have been observed at parts of the Shrine Hills following heavy rains, construction work, and the movement of heavy trucks.

Landslide hit a portion of the hill along Carlos P. Garcia Highway, or popularly known as Diversion Road, which passes through the foot of Shrine Hills.

On Friday, the Diversion Road was closed to any vehicle, thus causing a monstrous traffic in the city, particularly in the Matina and Bangkal areas of Talomo District.

Yesterday, the city announced the re-opening of one lane of the Diversion Road for northbound vehicles only from 5 a.m. until to 8 p.m. today.

Also yesterday, key officials from the city and national governments conducted inspections at Diversion Road to try to estimate the end date of the works, including the strengthening of the Shrine Hills slopes.

Felizarta said the contractors could not determine the kind of soil or rock they were digging.

“Rocks (rolled into the grounds) are as big as sport utility vehicles,” Felizarta said.

To date, the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) contractor has deployed five backhoes to work on the slope, as well as dumptrucks to haul the dirt.

Works on the landslide failed to meet the 48-hour target given by the local government to clear the area from debris.

Aside from clearing up the landslide debris, widening works are still ongoing along Diversion Road.

Buses, but not free

Yesterday, the city government with the help of bus companies deployed 10 buses to transport passengers stranded by the ongoing logjams caused by the closure of the Diversion Road.

In an advisory sent around 1 p.m., the City Information Office said buses would be available at the City Hall grounds starting 3 p.m.

“Buses will be deployed to transport passengers going to north and south areas of the city,” Jefry Tupas, City Information Officer, said.

“These buses will serve as an alternative mode of transport to passengers who may be stranded because of the current traffic situation following the clearing operations being done at the landslide area of Diversion Road.”

The bus rides are not for free, as regular fare rate applies.

In an interview after the flag ceremony Monday, City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) chief Dionisio Abude said the local government initially asked buses from bus liners to help ferry passengers.

Metro Shuttle and Bachelor provided a total of 10 buses.

Five of the buses are heading to the southern parts of the city while the other five are northbound.

Abude said the city government will be asking for more buses should there is a need.

The local government usually provides trucks and deploys roving police and traffic vehicles to carry stranded passengers during heavy rains or similar situations.

When heavy traffic first hit the city on Friday, drivers of private vehicles also offered free rides to commuters stranded during the rush hour.

Trips that used to take only 30 minutes are now taking two hours. Some were reportedly trapped in the road for four hours.

Last Friday morning, city officials ordered the closure of the Diversion Road after a landslide following heavy rains on Thursday night.

More evacuees

Rodrigo Bustillo, the Operations and Warning officer of City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), said that around 50 families living in shanties at the lower portion at Orange Grove along Diversion Road were forced to evacuate due to the ongoing clearing operation.

Bustillo said they need to evacuate the families to ensure their safety and the possible falling down of rocks from the top of the slope.

He said the families are temporarily sheltered at the barangay hall of Matina Pangi, Talomo District.

A total of 90 families were already evacuated since Thursday night due to landslide.

Close to 20 families are temporarily sheltered at the evacuation center in Barangay Los Amigos, Tugbok District since Friday.

Some are temporarily staying in their relatives’ house.