Monday, 30 May 2011 12:00
In the first place, there’s no defensible reason for any member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to throw himself/herself into a fit of rage over this infrastructure fiasco since not a single Honorable Councilor raised a decibel of protest, dissent or objection over the original plans and specifications of the building which according to voices in the know, contained structural design defects.
Secondly, a great deal of unconfirmed information was floated around that the site is generally unstable aside from the rumor circulated in subdued tones that such site is not legally owned by the City Government of Zamboanga which should have been verified and authenticated first by the Sangguniang Panlungsod before the maiden bag of cement was poured or before the laying of its cornerstone was undertaken with pomp.
Thirdly, while it may be true that the contractor has not yet officially turned over this extra- expensive public work for reasons that he alone and some technical personalities know and share, such structure is already devoid of any engineering responsibility and legal liability because all the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod decided to occupy the building without any opposition and without the necessary Acceptance and Ready for Occupancy Certificates signed and issued by the responsible official and upon certification and recommendation of the designated Team of Technical Experts. (If this rumor is true.) I think the contractor is now out of the legal loop or accountability hook. It is plausible that those who might have devoured large chunks of taxes which should been used for the purpose of completing the SP building strictly in accordance with the technically recommended and prescribed standards and specifications, could still be lurking behind impenetrable walls of darkness.
From a layman’s point of view, the act of occupying the SP building minus the official turn over and the Certificates of Acceptance and Ready For Occupancy, is not only tantamount to testifying as to the completion, integrity, safety, and soundness of the edifice, but also an act of usurping the authority to accept the building and the Technical Team’s expert function of declaring the building satisfactorily completed, safe and ready for occupancy. By reason of voluntary, consensual, and long period of occupancy, for me the entire fiscal accountability and legal responsibility for the integrity and safety of the SP building now squarely fall on our local legislators.
Now another outrageously huge amount of public money has been appropriated for its general repair which in the opinion of many, is better spent for other projects urgently needed by the different depressed and underdeveloped rural communities. A whopping 20-Million pesos of taxes will be spent for the repair of the golden edifice for the legally baptized Latin local legislators amidst grinding poverty, unbridled lawlessness, and garbage-strewn, poorly maintained, and crack-embroidered city streets.
At present they are again proposing to impose higher fees and taxes, which only confirms that the top priority and the flagship strategy to earn more and more income for “Asia’s Latin City” is squeezing dry the pockets of the taxpayers. So taxpayers, brace for another tax twister! Taxes they say, taste like honey. Just a word of caution - Caesar was addicted to exorbitant taxes which precipitated the people’s revolt leading to the eventual collapse and demise of the Roman Empire.
By Clem M. Bascar
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