City Hall mulls assistance for displaced boarders

(Francis Allan Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The Iloilo City government has mandated unlicensed boarding houses to apply for licenses within 10 days of receiving closure orders.

Meanwhile, officials are contemplating assistance for tenants potentially displaced by these and future shutdowns.

On Tuesday, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas informed the media that boarding houses recently closed must comply with the city’s regulatory requirements within the specified period.

This represents a shift from his statement on February 19, which indicated that boarding houses closed for lacking necessary permits would be permanently barred from obtaining licenses.

The mayor mentioned that the city government is deliberating on its next steps, recognizing that some boarding houses might have committed additional infractions beyond the absence of licenses.

He also acknowledged the efforts to aid those displaced by the closure of their temporary accommodations in the city.

“We will cross the bridge when we get there. [On Monday], we had a meeting with the [Office of the Building Official], the City Administrator, representatives from barangays, the Boarding House Commission, and the City Legal Office. We are exploring ways to assist them,” Treñas explained during a telephone interview with reporters on Tuesday.

Treñas declared that the authorities would be examining the enforcement of the existing boarding house ordinance (City Regulation Ordinance No. 00-01) and would remind barangay officials to compile a list of all boarding houses, licensed or otherwise.

This list is intended for examination by the Office of the Building Official and the Boarding House Commission.

Velma Jane Lao, head of the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion (LEDIP) Office, reported on Monday that they have received over 150 boarding house permit applications in recent days.

The issue of boarding house regulation has come to the fore following a tragic incident on February 18 in the La Paz district, where a fire engulfed 5 boarding houses, partially damaged 2 more, and resulted in 2 fatalities.

Norman Tabud, chief of the Investment Services, Business Permits, and Licensing Division, disclosed to Daily Guardian on Air last Friday, February 23, that of the 5 completely destroyed houses, only one had a valid license to operate.

Two had not renewed their permits, and the other two had no records with his office.