Lawyers sought to enforce setback rule on buildings

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Cagayan de Oro – Lawyers should be assigned at both the Office of Building Official (OBO) and the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) to enforce the setback rule on commercial building owners, an administration councilor said on Monday.

‘There was even a suggestion that there would be lawyers assigned (at both the OBO and RTA) to handle legal actions on issues like enforcing the setback rule (on building owners),’ Councilor Romeo Calizo said in response to a special report by Councilor James Judith II on reserved parking spaces during Monday afternoon’s regular session of the 20th City Council.

In his special report, Councilor Judith cited the practice of some building owners in areas like Tiano-Gomez Streets and Cruz-Taal Streets of Cagayan de Oro City’s downtown and central areas to delineate a portion of the sidewalks or the national roads near their buildings for parking spaces of their clients in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines.

‘Instead of building their own parking bays in their properties, some of these building owners use materials like old RTA signs, construction materials and police lines to set up parking spaces for their clients…the sidewalks and national roads are for public use,’ Judith said in Visayan.

The encroachment of space in these sidewalks is being blamed for traffic congestion in these downtown areas.

Councilor Roger Abaday said barangay officials should help in enforcing the setback rule on commercial buildings.

Councilor Calizo agreed, saying this problem had been raised to the council several times already.

Asst. OBO chief Maria Concepcion Alcantara previously said a three-meter setback is mandated on building owners between their properties and the sidewalk.

‘We cannot rely on the City Legal Office (to handle this issue). There’s a memorandum by the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Governments) on road clearing operations but the RTA is limited (without legal assistance)…we should also deputize barangay leaders to enforce their authority in order to ensure smooth traffic flow in their areas,’ Calizo said.

News courtesy of Stephen Capillas | Cagayan de Oro City Information Office

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