Tomas Osmeña holds mediumand high-rise building permits
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.