December 5, 2022

The city government has allowed 60 tenants of the Bayanihan building to renew their business permits on a monthly basis until after ownership of the building and the lot where the structure stands is resolved.

Last March, the tenants were issued a notice to vacate after Pines Commercial Corporation, a claimant of the property, failed to retrofit the building to make it structurally sound.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said for humanitarian reasons, the tenants will be allowed to continue operating.

“‘Yung mga tenants ang naiipit sa ownership dispute between Pines Commercial – the current operator – and the title holder. Mahirap ipasara ngayon at maraming nawalan ng livelihood,” dela Peña said.

Special permits are renewable every month while regular permits are renewed annually.

In 2019, the City Buildings and Architecture Office issued a closure order to Pines Commercial Corporation but plans of closing the area did not push through after PCC signed an undertaking committing to have the building renovated.

PCC tried to secure permits to start with the renovation or retrofitting but because the title is not in its name, the CBAO did not issue a permit.

The declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 also stalled the city government’s plans for the building.

Dela Peña said he hopes the ownership dispute, which is currently being heard in court, will be resolved the soonest so that whoever wins can start rehabilitating the building, which has been declared by the CBAO unfit to be occupied.

“The building is not structurally sound anymore. Paano kung lumindol? It has to be renovated right away,” dela Peña said. 

Bayanihan, previously known as the Filipinas Hotel in the 1930s, is a three-level pre-war building.

In World War II, it once served as headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army. It stopped operating as a hotel in 2006 and is now being leased for second-hand clothes stalls and offices. – Rimaliza A. Opiña