December 2, 2022

The city council has again passed an ordinance granting a six-month amnesty to applicants for electric connection.

The ordinance sought to provide relief to applicants for the issuance of a certificate of final electrical inspection (CFEI) or certificate of electrical inspection (CEI) for electrical service connection.

The amnesty shall apply to all residential dwellings with no building permits but with building tax declarations and to agricultural structures such as sheds, barns, and hatcheries.

The ordinance provides structures built in violation of the National Building Code and other related laws should not be condoned, adding the City Buildings and Architecture Office and other concerned agencies are not prevented from demolishing the structures based on other lawful grounds.

Under the ordinance, the following are the requirements for the issuance of the CFEI/CEI by the CBAO:

Electrical plan signed and sealed by a licensed electrical engineer and certified to be compliant with the Philippine Electrical Code; proof of ownership of the structure or building like deed of sale, waivers, tax declaration of the building or authorization from registered/declared building owner; certificate of non-tax delinquency of the building or certificate of exemption from payment of real property tax; and barangay certification attesting that the applicant is a bonafide resident of the barangay.

The ordinance stated amnesty does not apply to structures within forest and watershed reservations; within waterways, roads-right-of-way, and declared high risk areas; and those with pending demolition orders or those that were once demolished in the same place.

The ordinance stressed lack of access to electric service limits every member of the society to benefit from equal opportunities for economic development and increased living standard.

Moreover, the need for electrical connections is even more apparent during this Covid-19 pandemic as the use of technology is vital to distance learning, the ordinance added.

In a dialogue with the city council in September 2019, Engr. Nazita Bañez, former CBAO head, said she does not support another measure granting an amnesty to applicants for electric and water connections as this is not in line with the city’s 15-point agenda.

She said granting amnesty to owners of structures without building permits “contributes to environmental degradation and tolerates illegal settling in the City.”

Bañez said some applicants who were issued CFEIs/CEIs by virtue of ordinances granting an amnesty have structures built on public lands that are not fit for human habitation and many are within forest reservations and public lands which are protected areas.

She added building structures in those areas will further worsen the sorry state of the city’s environment.

She said the amnesty runs counter to one of the 15-point agenda of the executive body which is revitalizing the environment. – Jordan G. Habbiling