UNCENSORED By Manuel L. Morató

UNCENSORED By Manuel L. Morató

Are “Special Permits” Legal?

Our neighborhood has changed so much from a quiet residential area to a noisy and disorderly area with the ongoing construction almost across each other at the same time.  A 21 storey condo/hotel in a residential area on what used to be the ancestral home of our parents; and another 22 storey building – both on Scout Gandia Street, Barangay Sacred Heart.  The landscape of our area which is residential is now being converted into a jungle of highrise buildings which is supposed to be prohibited in the zonal of a residential area marked and stipulated at the back of all the titles of the properties in the neighborhood.  I was informed of a homeowner across my parents’ ancestral home who tried to get a permit to construct seven storey apartments (low rise) but was denied a permit.  The family sold the property and left to live in another place.

According to informers in the area, since the City Council started granting “special permits” to build highrise buildings in residential areas to selected few who are friends or associates, “Special Permits” are granted which the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) must look into if the granting of “Special Permit” is legal, allowed by law and given in favor of “special” people. The homeowners must at least be given a hearing in the Quezon City Council if they have any objections.

My question is, why was our neighbor not given a permit in a residential area to construct a 7 storey apartment building in his property and yet across him, a 21 storey condo/hotel (or condotel) was given a “Special Permit”; and another across another “Special Permit” for 22 storey building nearby?

We are in great danger with these two constructions ongoing at the same time.  One in the ancestral home of my parents illegally sold and demolished but was given a permit to demolish by the former Barangay Captain Flores.    

The 22 storey building in the corner of Scout Gandia Street and Tomas Morato Avenue is on partly commercial and partly residential lots.  One lot on Tomas Morato may be considered commercial; but the lots behind are residential.

Ever since I put up my building here on Morato Avenue in 1967, two years after the death of my father, Tomas B. Morato, the law only allowed 4 to 5 storeys – not more than that; and to this day, you can see that there are no highrise buildings along Tomas Morato Avenue between Roces Avenue to Timog Avenue.  I only went up to 4 floors; and so did the majority on this avenue and on the sidestreets.  

The Barangay Laging Handa, just across the avenue on the side of Mario’s Restaurant, Bruno’s, Amici, Coffee Bean… all the way to the corner of Timog; and all the way along Morato Avenue to Roces Avenue, the Homeowners Association of Laging Handa prohibited the putting up of highrise buildings.  It’s really sad that just across the avenue, a few meters away, we belong to another Barangay with no Homeowners Association.  Barangay Sacred Heart where our family compound is situated along Scout Gandia Street is now the target of so-called “land developers” who want this residential area converted like Hongkong and Singapore, both with small land area and have no choice but to go upward.  But the Philippines is not in that situation for our country has vast lands for expansion without disturbing the historical set-up of Quezon City, patterned after Washinton D.C., not New York.  

As to who truly owns my mother’s properties now, we more or less know.  That’s why we took the matter to court.  But as to who owns the other 22 storey building now being constructed, two different “owners” are being mentioned.

For us and our neighbors who’ve lived here for decades, naguguluhan po kaming lahat sa ingay, ang gulo; as well as the ambiance of residential lost.  The sidewalks have been taken over by the construction, and we were informed for the next two to three years.  What an ugly and disorderly Christmases we will have ahead of us.

Sidewalks are for use by public entity.  According to some friends, formerly with the Quezon City Hall, hindi puwede to close the sidewalks to give way to a private property.  Sidewalks are public and no one can impede public use.  Construction must limit itself within the property being constructed.  “Special Permit” cannot close sidewalks to give way to a private property construction, neither the Barangay, nor the office in Quezon City Hall incharge of granting building permits.

What also bothers us is the very tall crane with huge blocks of solid cement as weight most of the time aimed at the Scout Gandia Street infront of our gate.  God willing not, in case of earthquake, the huge cement blocks can topple over Scout Gandia Street.  I hope the City Engineers Office could take note of it; and most importantly, the DILG if violations are being committed for the sidewalk has been fenced in and started to put huge cement blocks on our side on the other side of the street.

There are those who will say that that’s the way they do it when constructing a highrise.  But the highrise buildings must be constructed near other highrise buildings in a purely commercial area where they are better placed.  But that’s not the case in our neighborhood.  It’s a residential area since its foundation day in 1939, being invaded by invaders loaded with money.

Allow me to reiterate my question if the City Council of Quezon City can grant “Special Permits.”  I was informed that the City Mayor has the right to veto; if so, then the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), or the court can decide on its legality as well.  I am sure that the neighborhood is entitled to be at least informed, not all these what we are suffering from without notice, without hearing, with only Barangay Permit to demolish and without informing the homeowners.

Now they/we worry about the supply of water to the residential homes with two monstrous buildings being constructed.  Walang kalaban-laban ang mga private homeowners in the neighborhood.         

For comments and suggestions email at mlmorato@yahoo.com

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