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[ Cagayan de Oro ] St. Peter exec hits public hearing on funeral project

[ ] Saturday, January 30, 2010

By Terry D.C. Betonio

A TOP executive of St. Peter Memorial Chapel viewed as "bias" and "sham" the public hearing held Saturday at the site of the funeral firm's proposed project in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City.

Victor Tancinco, St. Peter's executive vice president for Visayas and Mindanao, even refused at first to be interviewed by the media right after the public hearing, saying "What for? They denied it already."

Tancinco said they were not given a "fair treatment" at the public hearing, and even called it a "sham."

"This is not a public hearing, this is a political rally. This is a sham!" he said.

Tancinco said they would "go to court" and fight, citing the legality of their project.

Bulua barangay chair Al Legaspi viewed Tancinco's statement as his personal assessment of the public hearing.

"That's his statement. If he saw it as bias, that's his own view. But we have given everyone the chance to speak. We even invited representatives from government agencies concerned to shed light on some issues raised by the residents," Legaspi said.

He said there would be no problem if St. Peter would go to court.

"If they go to court and insist on putting up their project here, it's their right. But they should consider that this is Bulua, this is our area, we are the residents here," Legaspi added.

Earlier, Legaspi said the barangay council would support whatever decision the residents would come up regarding the project.

Barangay councilor Pedro Legaspi, however, said toward the end of the public hearing that the council is saying "no" to the project.

But Tancinco viewed it as his "personal opinion," and not the council as a whole.

During the public hearing, the residents unanimously say "no" to the proposed project, re-echoing their earlier opposition.

Gemma Pabayo-Velasco, a resident of the area who leads the protesting residents, told the officials of St. Peter not to insist with the project because the residents are opposed to it.

"You listen to the people, because the voice of the people has said 'no'," she said.

The more than 600 residents in the area filed last year a petition against the establishment of St. Peter's funeral parlor and embalming facilities at Lower Zone 2, citing numerous reasons, such as environment, public health, sanitation and drainage.

Velasco said the residents are vehemently opposing the project as water discharges or any wastes from the funeral parlor might contaminate Tuburan, a spring where residents who have no access to the water district get their drinking water.

Tuburan, a water source with "clear water flowing endlessly" located around 200 meters away from the proposed site, is set to be developed by the barangay council into a tourism site.

However, Tancinco said St. Peter has high-tech wastewater treatment facility. He assured that the water at Tuburan would not be contaminated.

"We assured that there will be no leakage, even if Tuburan is situated 10 meters away from our septic tank. We will conduct testing of water every six months, to allay your fears," he said.

St. Peter will reportedly build a P200 million mega chapel with its equipment for septic tank worth P2.8 million.

Tancinco said the mega chapel, which would be its 264th chapel in the Philippines, would cater to high-end clients.

Amy Mabatid, St. Peter assistant vice president, said the company would provide employment to residents in the area once construction of the project starts, along with other community projects.

Bonifacia Labadan, a resident in the area, said they appreciate the plan of St. Peter in providing employment opportunities and are not saying "no" to the project.

However, she said this should be located somewhere else, not in their area.

"Please find another place. We are peaceful here, we are contented here. We will agree if the project to be established here are grocery stores or other business establishments, not funeral parlor," Labadan said.

However, Tancinco said that based on the zoning ordinance of the City Government, Barangay Bulua is the identified place for a funeral parlor business.

Earlier, St. Peter found an area in Barangay Kauswagan for the proposed project but the barangay council disapproved its application because it is not included in the zoning regulation.

Engineer Alex Jimenez, head of the Environmental Impact Assessment Monitoring Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the application of St. Peter for the environment compliance certificate is still pending at their office.

He said they are still processing the company's application, taking into consideration the outcome of the public hearing though he claimed that St. Peter has the right to put up whatever projects it want because it owned the land.

Ben Salvador, senior environment management specialist of the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office, also said that all the issues raised by the residents in their petition and the counter-claim of St. Peter would be evaluated by their office before coming out with a final decision.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 31, 2010.


Supreme Court okays Edsa-Ortigas high-rise

by Rey E. Requejo

[ ] January 30-31, 2010

RESIDENTS of posh Greenhills East in Mandaluyong have lost their appeal with the Supreme Court to stop a developer from building the country’s tallest structure, a 77-story condominium on EDSA and Ortigas Avenue.

In rejecting the petition of the Greenhills East Association Inc. for lack of merit, the Supreme Court’s Second Division said because the issues raised were factual, it would defer to the expertise of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

The latest ruling affirms the Dec. 21, 2004 decision of the Court of Appeals in favor of the developer, E. Ganzon Inc., over the 4,109-square-meter lot in Wack-Wack village owned by San Buena Realty and Development Corp.

The developer wants to build Skycity Condominium, a 77-story mixed-use building with an eight-level basement on the property, which is near the Greenhills East Subdivision and bounded by EDSA to the east, Florida Street to the north, Block 4 of the subdivision and a narrow creek in the west, and Ortigas Avenue in the south, near the Securities and Exchange Commission and La Salle Greenhills.

E. Ganzon fenced off the site in 1997, demolished the structures on it and began excavation work, but the Greenhills East Association opposed the project the following year before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

In November 1999, a board arbiter dismissed the residents’ opposition. When they also lost an appeal to the Office of the President, the residents took their case to the Court of Appeals, which ruled against them in 2004.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court justices said they had no expertise in judging the facts of the case.

“No matter how hard it tries to learn the technical intricacies of certain highly regulated human activities, the Supreme Court will always be inadequately equipped to identify the facts that matter when resolving issues involving such activities,” Associate Justice Roberto Abad said in his decision.

“Invariably, the Court must respect the factual findings of administrative agencies which have expertise on matters that fall within their jurisdiction. Here, since the [board] has the expertise in applying zonal classifications on specific properties and since petitioner GEA fails to make out a clear case that it has erred, the court must rely on [the board’s] finding.”

The Court said it would “not dwell on the other matters raised concerning environmental requirements respecting light, ventilation, drainage, sewerage, waste disposal, and pollution relating to the project,” adding that “these matters very well fall under the competence of other government agencies.”

The housing and land use board would certainly not approve a building that did not meet all the legal requirements, the Court said.


Property developer sees Manila Bay area becoming ‘mini Las Vegas’ in 5 years


[ ] January 29,. 2010

Seeing Roxas Boulevard become a "mini Las Vegas" in four to five years, developer Landmark Communities Inc. is positioning itself early with its Mandara Waterfront Residences condominium project.

Celedonio Pile Jr., Landmark Communities president, said that they are spending P1.1 billion to P1.2 billion in the construction of the low-rise by-the bay Mandara Waterfront Residences.

Pile said they decided to make it a low-rise project because they wanted to be unique and exclusive, given that almost all of their competitors are expected to build high-rise mass housing condominium units.

It is a 12 building project offering 216 units in a 1.4 hectare of land at Asiaworld City, Barangay Don Galo, Paranaque City where the Manila Bay could be seen. Ten of the buildings are three to four storeys, offering three to four units; while the remaining two are 12-storey buildings.

The first 10 buildings cost P60 to P70 million each.

Pile said 60 percent of the first building is already finished and it is expected to be completed in March. The construction of the first building started last year. He said that they would complete the whole project within four years.

Pile said the units range from 72 square meters to 138 sqm with prices ranging from P5.8million to P15 million.

The property notes that it is near international airports, malls, renowned schools, business establishment and other commercial hubs.

Landmark Communites said they are targeting businessmen, pilots, doctor and other well-to do.

Pile explained that making an investment in the 600 hectare Roxas Boulevard or Bay Area is a must now because it is expected to become a main entertainment and business district within four to five years.

Given this situation, tourism and demand for condominium units would rise, making Mandara Residences part of the expected boom, Pile said.

He said that more than 5.2 million tourist would come in the Bay Area once it is fully developed.

Pile gave this forecast due to the development of Bagong Nayong Pilipino of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or Pagcor City, a 54 hectare gaming and hotel development project; the rise of the SM Mall of Asia and expected development of five to eight four to five star hotels, restaurants and other establishments in the area.

Pile said that Benjamin Sison, president of Silver Swan Manufacturing Co. Inc, and Landmark Communities chairman Jonathan Lim has about 70 percent share in the project.

Excore Inc., a professional planning and management company with a property research arm, has about 30 percent share.

The property where the project is being built was formerly owned by the Philippine Veterans Bank.


Landmark Communities to build P1-billion condo

(The Philippine Star) Updated January 29, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Property developer Landmark Communities Inc. is building a P1-billion residential condominium building along Roxas Boulevard in Manila to take advantage of the expected residential boom in the country’s next business and entertainment hub.

Landmark Communities is a joint venture among businessmen Jonathan Lim, maker of Sanicare tissue, Silver Swan owner Benjamin Sison and Celedonio Pile Jr.

Pile, president and chief executive officer of Landmark Communities, said the project, dubbed Mandara Waterfront Residences, will comprise 12 buildings, offering a total of 216 units priced at between P5.8 million and P15 million. It will rise on a 1.4-hectare property at Asiaworld City, Parañaque and will be the metro’s first oceanfront residential community.

The first 10 buildings will have three or four storeys while the last two will have 12 floors. Each building will have only 12 units. The first building is slated for completion in March this year while the second building is now being marketed.

Unit sizes range from 72 square meters to 138 square meters, Pile said.

Pile said the company may spend up to P1.1 billion to develop the project within a four-year period.

He said Roxas Boulevard is poised to regain its old glory a choice as entertainment and business destination with the development of Pagcor City, a 54-hectare masterplanned gaming and hotel complex which is envisioned to put the Philippines on the map as the next Macau of Asia.

He added that demand for residential developments in the area are expected to shoot up once developments take place, pointing out that in the last two years alone, around 2,000 units along Roxas Boulevard, averaging 100 units per month, had already been sold. – Zinnia dela Peña


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