‘RULES BYPASSED’: OBO: DPWH projects commenced construction sans permits

The Office of the Building Official (OBO) of Iloilo City head Engr. Mavi Gustilo (left) and Atty. Manuel Magbanua Jr. called for a press conference on Thursday, July 7, 2024, in relation to the projects undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Iloilo City District Engineering Office (DPWH-ICDEO). (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Some projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Iloilo City District Engineering Office (DPWH-ICDEO) commenced construction and have been completed without the necessary building permits, the Office of the Building Official (OBO) of Iloilo City revealed.

OBO records indicate that seven projects undertaken by the ICDEO bypassed legal processes before construction.

These projects include one public market and six multi-purpose buildings, all initiated from 2020 onward. The ICDEO is currently led by Engr. Roy Pacanan.

Phase 1 of the Mandurriao Public Market has no building permit application and no initial evaluation from the OBO, but the ICDEO completed the project in June 2022.

Phase 2 of the public market underwent initial evaluation on June 3, 2024, and was endorsed back to the ICDEO on June 28, 2024. It is already around 95 percent complete as of May 2024 and also lacks a building permit.

Other projects without permits include the multi-purpose buildings in Brgy. Santa Filomena, Arevalo, and Brgy. Concepcion, City Proper, completed in February and April 2024, respectively.

The two projects had initial evaluations with the OBO in June this year and were endorsed back in the same month.

Similarly, the Jalandoni Memorial National High School Sports Complex’s multi-purpose building, finished in April 2024, had no submitted documents or technical requirements to the OBO. Phase 1 of its construction started in 2020.

The same building in Balantang, Jaro, which has three phases, has been suspended since January 2024. The ICDEO said the project awaits approval of the building permit, but the OBO said they have no records of the project in their database.

Phase 1 of the Brgy. Esperanza multi-purpose building was completed in March last year, but the OBO said the project also has no record. Its Phase 2, evaluated in April 2024, was suspended awaiting permit approval.

Phase 1 of the same structure in Brgy. Katilingban was completed in April 2022 but was only applied for a building permit at a later date. OBO records showed that its building permit was pulled out for compliance in August 2022.

Phase 2 construction of the building has no record with OBO and was suspended by the ICDEO in May 2024.

OBO head Engr. Mavi Gustilo said these projects were found lacking necessary requirements after complaints from residents and city mapping activities.

“Our people respond to the complaints, and we have personnel that are roaming around or mapping the city, and that is where we discovered that these projects lack documents,” she said.

Upon discovery, Gustilo said the OBO issued violation notices and work stoppages to the ICDEO.

“We have issued notices of violation to the ICDEO and the contractor since we have been receiving complaints about these projects,” Gustilo said.

Gustilo mentioned that the OBO conducted coordination meetings with ICDEO personnel to address these complaints and missing documents.

The OBO said they are also “surprised” by ICDEO’s allegations that they caused the delayed completion of the projects.

Under the National Building Code of the Philippines, the ICDEO is required to secure a permit from the OBO, which includes both documentary and technical requirements, before it can begin its projects.

These documents are necessary for the application of a building permit with the OBO.

Since the projects are on city government-owned lots, the ICDEO also needs to consult with the local government unit and obtain City Council approval.

The ICDEO must secure a location clearance to ensure compliance with the city’s 2021-2029 Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

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