By MANNY LOSTE
BAGUIO CITY — Beneco’s General Manager Gerardo Verzosa, in last Wednesday’s edition of Kapihan sa Baguio, lambasted the City Building and Architectural Office (CBAO) of this city for holding back the electrification of some 7,000 households.
All that Beneco needs is a certificate of final electrical inspection (CFEI) to provide electricity to these residents of the city. CBAO is refusing to issue a CFEI on the ground that the houses have no building permits.
What makes the situation worse, according to Verzosa, is that CBAO is applying this policy selectively, as it has issued CFEI for some structures in the city even without the required building permits. “And we have the evidence to prove that” Verzosa claimed.
One media practitioner during the media forum raised the question if the said city department is making the issuance of CFEI a milking cow – a question which Verzosa declined to answer.
City Council to the rescue
In a move to rectify this situation, the City Council has drafted a city ordinance that will make electrical and water connection less cumbersome for homeowners. The proposed ordinance, authored by city councilors Rocky Thomas Balisong, Lourdes F. Tabanda, Joel A. Alangsab, Antonio R. Tabora and Vice-Mayor Daniel Farinas, seeks to simplify requirements for electrical and water connections.
Under the proposed ordinance, homeowners applying for electrical and water connections are not required to present a building permit to avail of these basic city services. Instead, a committee chaired by the Mayor or his duly authorized representative, BENECO, the Baguio Water District (BWD) and the Punong Barangay with jurisdiction over the subject property will screen applications and recommend water and electricity connections.
This was also in response to the unique situation of many homeowners in Baguio City whose land ownership has been difficult to perfect due to the particularities of the Townsite Application (TSA) system that has been adopted in the city.
Versoza expressed hope that the proposed city ordinance will soon be passed and respected by all parties concerned especially by the CBAO. He pointed out that in the past an almost similar ordinance was passed during the term of former mayor Bernardo Vergara, but CBAO simply ignored it, making this particular department of city hall seemingly more powerful than the city council and even the Mayor’s office. # nordis.net