To­mas Os­meña holds medi­u­mand high-rise build­ing per­mits

The Freeman - - NEWS - De­me­cillo/JBB — Jean Marvette A.

The 31 pend­ing build­ing per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions for the con­struc­tion of medium- and high-rise build­ings would have to wait for six months be­fore the Cebu City gov­ern­ment will de­cide.

Mayor To­mas Os­meña said there is a need to dis­cuss all safety mea­sures, say­ing that the safety of the peo­ple is his ut­most con­cern.

“I'm talk­ing about at least six months. And then af­ter six months, no more build­ings above four sto­ries. That might be the out­come,” he told re­porters.

The mayor re­cently pro­nounced that he is plan­ning to ban the con­struc­tion of high-rise build­ings be­cause of “ques­tion­able” safety mea­sures and that he does not want to com­pro­mise the safety of the peo­ple fol­low­ing the Metro Ayala fire.

As of now, the city is with­hold­ing 31 per­mits for the con­struc­tion of medium- and high-rise build­ings in the city un­til he will meet with the in­vestors to dis­cuss safety mea­sures.

Os­meña said he is still wait­ing for the re­port from the fire depart­ment on the re­sult of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the fire in­ci­dent that hit the depart­ment store. It took three days for fire­fight­ers to put out the fire.

He said he does not mind get­ting neg­a­tive feed­backs from the op­po­si­tion coun­cilors who said that his move is “anti-de­vel­op­ment and anti-busi­ness.”

“That's the part me be­ing a mayor. I don't care if my de­ci­sion is pop­u­lar or not. I'm not mo­ti­vated by what's pop­u­lar or not,” he said.

He said it is not true that Cebu City is the only place in the world that will or­der height lim­its, say­ing he was in Bev­erly Hills in Cal­i­for­nia when it im­ple­mented the three-story limit (or 45 feet above the ground) on build­ings years ago.

Os­meña said all the build­ings that are above the three-story limit are 30 to 40 years old, adding that econ­omy in Cal­i­for­nia has boosted.

“You know why they do it? It's not for safety con­sid­er­a­tions. It's be­cause of traf­fic. There's too much traf­fic. Limit the build­ings. Now, one of the most liv­able cities in the world is Bev­erly Hills,” he said.

As to the re­quest of the Team Rama coun­cilors, the mayor said they can push for leg­is­la­tion for their re­quest to the Bureau of Fire Depart­ment to au­dit and in­spect all old build­ings if these com­ply with all the safety stan­dards.

How­ever, Os­meña said it is note­wor­thy that the Metro Ayala build­ing was also com­pli­ant with ex­ist­ing stan­dards. He said he is just won­der­ing why the sprin­kler sys­tem in the build­ing did not work.

Os­meña said he has not heard of any fire in­ci­dents in the coun­try where the sprin­kler sys­tem has helped stop the fire.

“It's not a mat­ter of com­ply­ing with per­mits be­cause many of the per­mits we have are not good enough. That's what I'm say­ing. Per­mits of Ayala was okay but it did not work. What does that tell you, just be­cause you have a per­mit, it will work?” Os­meña said.

He said he is ques­tion­ing the en­tire stan­dard that the coun­try is us­ing, adding that there's a need to im­prove the stan­dard be­cause of the ex­is­tence of sev­eral high-rise build­ings in the city.

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