CEBU CITY (Sept. 5, 2022)Separate local and national government offices have long issued notices to at least 47 commercial buildings in the city for having violated the riverside three-meter easement rule and other environmental laws.

Four of them received notices yet in November 2020 from both the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-7, Cebu City News learned.

The Kamputhaw River meanders from the side of the University of San Carlos-North Campus, across Gen. Maxilom Ave. and towards the downtown area by also going across Echaves Street. (Photo grabbed from Google Earth)

A report of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-7 about Cebu City Rivers identified them as Lighthouse Restaurant, White Knight Hotel (formerly Mango Park Hotel), Aya-ay Arcade, and Cherry Court.

The four encroached on the three-meter easement and even covered portions, of the Lahug-Kamputhaw river along Gen. Maxilom (Mango) Ave., DENR-7 reported last Aug. 30 to the city’s Gubat sa Baha Task Force.

DENR’s former Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, adviser-consultant of Mayor Mike Rama on environmental concerns, whom task force members unanimously elected as their head, presided its series of meetings.

Retired general and former environment secretary Roy Cimatu during the Gubat sa Baha Task Force meeting last August 30, when Mayor Mike Rama introduced him as the City’s consultant on environmental concerns. It was also during this meeting when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported the three-meter easement “violations” it noted. (PIO/File)

Meanwhile, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) head Atty. Gerardo A. Carillo revealed the City issued notices to some prominent businesses whose buildings have encroached city rivers.

He identified them as Colonnade Supermarket, 138 Mall, Dimsum Break (former Ding How) and Gaisano Main on Colon St. and The Freeman newspaper on D. Jakosalem cor. V. Gullas Sts, all along Estero de Parian.

He also named Kaking Store warehouse along Mahiga on Gaisano St. in Tejero, and Gaisano Grand Mall on Gov. Cuenco Ave. along a tributary of Butuanon river in Talamban.

These two photos show the encroachment on the Kamputhaw River in just a span of 12 years. The top photo shows the river still mostly clear of obstructions while the photo above shows that there are already structures built over the waterway. (Photos grabbed from DENR presentation)

“No one is spared, ma datu man o’ ma kabus, as Mayor Rama instructed us,” said Carillo. “Either they voluntarily dismantle their structures, or the city will move for their demolition,” he added.

Carillo said some representatives of the businesses he identified contacted him and claimed they hold documents that allowed them to build the structures.

Atty Gerry Carillo. (PIO/File)

But he and Cimatu asserted the easement rule backed by the cadastral plan in DENR records will prevail.

The DENR-7 report showed the local CENRO issued notices last November 2020 to the following 23 establishments, in alphabetical order:

  • Asian Link Finance
  • Aya-ay Arcade
  • Belen Edillon
  • Cebu Automedic
  • Cherry Court Bldg.
  • Danny Eatery
  • Danny Tan
  • Friendly Guesthousehotel
  • Golden Mango Apt.
  • Jesus Caingles

No one is spared, ma datu man o’ ma kabus, as Mayor Rama instructed us.

Atty. Gerry Carillo, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chairman
  • Jesus Christ Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative
  • K&J 2nd Han Computers
  • Kevlo Skinceuticals
  • Lighthouse Restaurant
  • Lim Kaking
  • Mango Store
  • MC dela Fuente Realty
  • Pac Gear Autoshop
  • Philbytes Inc.
  • Protect Marine School
  • Rainbow Tours & Travel
  • V. Power Shell
  • White Knight Hotel

The CENRO issued the notices as an offshoot to Executive Order No. 101, s. 2020, that then Mayor Edgardo C. Labella issued on Oct. 29, 2020 “to assess and implement measures against structures encroaching the easement in rivers and waterways in Cebu City.”

A Cebu City resident receives her copy of the Notice of Violation issued by the City after her house is found to be within the three-meter easement of one of the waterways of the city. (PIO/File)

The same DENR report showed that EMB-7 issued notices also last November 2020 to, also in alphabetical order:

  • Atlas Electrical and Hardware Supply Warehouse
  • Aya-ay Arcade
  • Cherry Court
  • FJ Legacy Corp. Inc. (lessor/owner)
  • G2G Sports Center/ Storage Facility
  • Gaisano Saversmart T.Padilla
  • Jkiemangie Residential Rooms
  • Lighthouse Restaurant
  • Mad Monkey Hostels (lessee)
  • New Ventures Shell Station

Either they voluntarily dismantle their structures, or the City will move for their demolition.

  • Nice Stay Realty Homes
  • Perpetual Succour Hospital – Cebu Medical Arts Center & Annex Building
  • Rana Hotel
  • Rivergate Commercial Center
  • Six-Storey Building with Roof Deck
  • TNVS Carwash
  • University of San Carlos – Montessori Academy
  • University of San Carlos – North Campus
  • White Knight Hotel
A City Hall employee marks a portion of a residential structure’s wall to delineate which portion should be demolished as it is within the three-meter easement of one of the city’s rivers. (PIO/File)

The DENR-7 Cebu City Rivers report also identified at least 878 structures that have encroached on the rivers in the city’s north district.

They include 897 residences, plus 56 commercial establishments, 12 government-owned, two religious and one institutional, a summary in the report showed.

Most of these or 33.71 percent are in Lahug, followed by Kamputhaw (18 percent), Tinago and Tejero (11 percent), while most of the commercial establishments are found in Kamputhaw and Zapatera.

Meanwhile, Carillo said the CDRRMC teams dispatched to the city’s seven rivers the past weeks have so far tagged some 2,000 structures and issued notices with the respective barangays involved. He estimates some 14,000 yet to be tagged. #