Cebu News

Santa Fe businesses cry foul against LGU

Gregg M. Rubio - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — While experiencing losses due to the coronavirus disease scare, tourism-related establishments in Santa Fe in Bantayan Island have also claimed to have been suffering from another crisis that the local government unit (LGU) had imposed on them.

The LGU’s move is said to be contrary to the government’s call to hotels and resorts to give discounts to local tourists to help revive tourism industry amidst COVID-19 scare.

For this year’s renewal of mayor’s permits, the Office of the Mayor, through its Business Permits and Licensing Office, only issued “temporary” Mayor’s Permit valid until February 28, 2020.

The FREEMAN obtained copies of the temporary mayor’s permit issued to pasalubong and souvenir shops; accommodation and lodging; resort, restaurant and leasing stalls; bar, and other related establishments.

The establishments claimed having complied with all the necessary requirements and paid in full year or annual renewal fees for 2020 as existing businesses for more or less five years already.

“The agony now suffered by establishments within the 4th class municipality for their business permit issued temporarily until last February 28, 2020 only. We cannot continue and/or constraints to do transactions with our clients including bank and bidding requirements for booking and loan purposes,” said one of the business managers who asked for anonymity.

She is hoping the higher authorities will take appropriate action for this “unlikely behavior” allegedly done by Mayor Ithamar Espinosa.

The source said they might file a class suit against the mayor of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, Abuse of Authority and violation of Anti-Red Tape Law.

She added that the BPLO personnel was invited to the Sangguniang Bayan session but has not given clear answer to the queries.

“Ang rason sa BPLO nahutdan ug papel ug mga after one month pa. New virus kini, nag-suffer na mga establishments tungod sa corona, nadungagan pa viruspinosa,” she added.

Councilor Jayson Repaso, who is a lawyer, explained the issuance of temporary permit is only for two months.

“Leeway to all establishment while they are processing their Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC),” Repaso told The FREEMAN.

While it is true that the establishments have been existing for years, some are not compliant with the law, Espinosa said.

“Mosamot (virus impact) kung mag-closure ta, gi-temporary na for them to comply (with) the necessary requirements,” Espinosa said.

Espinosa had created a team to inspect each and every establishment on what needs to be complied with.

He said that those who lack some requirements have entered into an undertaking to comply within the given period so the permit would be released.

“We are on the process na to release sa permanent permits to those sa ni-comply na,” the mayor said. /GAN (FREEMAN)

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