Filinvest: Rains caused wall collapse

Posted on October 31, 2012

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Heavy rainfall in the past days caused the collapse of the perimeter wall of the old BBRC building in Apas last Sunday dawn, developer Filinvest Land Inc. said yesterday.

At Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama wants the Office of the Building Official to explain if they have been remiss in monitoring the construction.

In a statement signed by Filinvest first vice-president for Visayas and Mindanao Tristan Las Marias, the company said only a small portion of the old BBRC wall had collapsed “due to massive rainfall that softened the soil foundation of the existing perimeter wall”.

Las Marias also confirmed that the contractor of the Filinvest-Cebu province build-transfer-operate project, Megawide Construction Corp. was excavating the area.

But Las Marias assured that safety precautions were ensured and that they have proper permit from the Cebu City government.

“The excavation works are being undertaken under an approved excavation permit issued by the Cebu City Office of the Building Official (OBO) last Sept. 7, 2012. Filinvest and Megawide confirm that all works are being undertaken with utmost care and due regard to the safety of all concerned”, Las Marias said in the statement.

Filinvest is building a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) complex on the Cebu provincial government owned lot in barangay Apas. A portion of the project’s perimeter fence collapsed last Sunday dawn damaging five houses.

OBO issued last Monday a notice of suspension and illegal construction against Megawide Construction Corp., the project contractor.

But OBO inspectors who went to see the construction site last Monday noted that the project’s soil protection wall caved in, causing the collapse of the concrete fence.

Mayor Rama said Filinvest and the project contractor should make sure that the affected families are properly compensated.

Las Marias said Filinvest and the contractor will undertake necessary measures to strengthen the soil foundation in the excavation area and to avoid the repeat of such incident.

He also stated that Megawide contacted the barangay officials and the affected residents and assured them of assistance in repairing the damaged houses as well as financial compensation.

Apas barangay captain Ramil Ayuman confirmed that he got a call from a Filinvest representative who assured to provide the necessary assistance to the owners of the damaged houses,

Ayuman said as of Tuesday, the suspension of work remained after the cease and desist order was issued by the city government.

Alvin Santillana, operations officer of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said he sent some personnel to the area last Tuesday to ensure that the contractor has complied with the cease and desist order.

Santillana said the contractor cannot pursue its work until the order is lifted. But the suspension order will only be lifted once the contractor can submit remedial measures, which should also be approved by OBO and city engineering department.

Meanwhile Rama said Engr. Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez, Cebu City Engineering and Building Official, will have to explain why her office failed to properly monitor the progress of the construction project at the old Cebu City Jail.

Rama said he will be asking City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete to get in touch with Enriquez on the matter.

“OBO will have to be answerable as to how it happened. Was there constant inspection of the construction site?”

Rama said he will not accept as an excuse the lack of personnel for OBO’s failure to oversee implementation of projects.

Enriquez was not at her office yesterday and could not be reached for comment. /Jhunnex Napallacan and Doris C. Bongcac

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