Beachfront hotel at Alona, Panglao under fire

Members of the Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce (PICC) raised their eyebrows on the controversy behind the ongoing construction of a 12-story beachfront hotel located smack into the center of the almost kilometer-long Alona Beach in Barangay Danao, Panglao town.

The initial query noted a deep excavation in the ground, scaffolding, construction equipment, jutting steel bars and a gantry crane now part of a construction frenzy that will soon see a multi-story building.

The chamber will demand a water analysis of the water coming out from a large hole fronting the construction in progress with a pipe cutting across the beach reportedly used to dump allegedly sea water that seeped into the construction area back into the sea.

Rommel Gonzalez, PICC President expressed dismay when he learned that the structure is a twelve-storey hotel while he was informed by Mayor Leonila Montero herself that the construction is a six-storey hotel. He presided a well attended monthly meeting of the chamber at South Palms yesterday afternoon.

But PICC Vice President, former Panglao Mayor Doloreich Dumaluan said he already received information from the Office of the Building Official (OBO) that the construction is a 12-storey building.

A copy of the building permit furnished to the Chronicle showed that the owner of the 1,637 sq.m.lot is registered under DataLand Inc. with the building permit application signed by Roy Bayari C. Lachica.

The building permit was signed by Municipal Engineer and Building Official Rogelio Bonao on June 19, 2017 with the corporation paying a total of PhP250,118.03 permit fees.

The hotel will have a total area of 14,403.96 sq.m. with an estimated cost of PhP500.5 million. The construction started on April, 2017 while expected date of completion will be on July, 2019.

NO HEIGHT RESTRICTIONS

Bonao, told the Chronicle that the guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on height restrictions within the flight radius of aircrafts taking off and landing at the New Bohol Panglao Airport allows the construction of buildings similar to the 12 storey construction of DataLand.

According to Bonao, when completed the height of the assailed new hotel would level off with Hennan Hotel since the building will start well below the elevated part of Alona Beach.

Prior to the construction of the Panglao Airport, the runway was thrice re-aligned to minimize the possible disturbance of visitors in the tourist area during arrivals and departures of aircrafts.

Bonao also stressed that he will not hesitate to cancel or revoke the building permit of DataLand pursuant to section 305 and 306 of the National Building Code.

Montero also issued a certification for the proposed construction of “Ivy Wall Bohol Resort and Hotel” owned by DataLand Inc. on May 7, 2017 based on a proposed zoning ordinance and Land Use Plan of Panglao.

ORDINANCES IGNORED

Panglao municipal councilor Rogelin Degoma, PICC member informed the body that Panglao LGU has an approved not proposed, as stated in the Mayor’s certification to DataLand,  a Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and zoning ordinance.

Degoma also raised this issue to Governor Edgar Chatto thru a letter on November 7, 2017 expressing her concern over possible violations of the Panglao Island Tourism Estate (PITE).

A municipal ordinance governing activities of the PITE clearly stipulates the height restrictions of structures within the tourism area, according to Degoma.

The disturbing information was revealed during   yesterday’s monthly meeting of the PICC with 51 members in attendance.

SEA WATER NOT WASTE WATER

Rosalina “Blue” Gaterin of the DENR who was invited as a resource person by the PICC disclosed that she conducted two site verifications of the area on September 24, 2017 and November 3, 2017.

According to her report, the owner of the hotel as shown in the application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is Paul Vincent Chua with White Port as the contractor.

It was not indicated in the ECC application the number of floors but the contractor admitted that the hotel will have 12 floors, according to Gaterin.

The deep excavation in the construction site that drew the attention of the public is the location of the ground floor and structural footings, according to Gaterin.

According to Gaterin, the construction sanitary inspector sought the assistance of the DENR on the manner of disposal of sea water that has seeped into the ground floor area which was dugged 2.5 meters below sea level.

When asked if they have issued a discharge permit, Gaterin answered in the negative explaining that there is no need since the discharged water is not wastewater but sea water.

Gaterin advised the contractor to conduct sampling tests of the water to be dumped back into the sea to determine if other matters has mixed with the sea water.

But a PICC member did not agree with the explanation of Gaterin on the ground that sediments and other construction particles would pollute the seeping sea waters.

Gaterin assured the PICC members that construction activities are closely monitored by the DENR thru monthly inspections and testings.

DataLand, Inc. represented by its chairman, Danilo Tamayo and its President Rosaleo Montenegro bought the 1,637 sq.m. land on February 6, 2015 from one of the pioneers of the tourism industry in Panglao for PhP49.110 million or PhP30,000.00/sq.m.

Now accompanied by a brewing controversy over its construction, will the new addition to the burgeoning hotels fighting for a shrinking space in Alona Beach change the face of the blighted white beach or add to the growing eyesore created by the fervour to reel in more tourists. (Chito M, Visarra)

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