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BAGUIO BIZ PERMIT RULES EASED FOR COVID-HIT MSMES

The city government of Baguio has eased the requirements to get a business permit in the city to allow owners to rectify the errors and align their business activity to the standards of the city’s zoning ordinance.

Aileen Refuerzo, city information office chief, said City Council Resolution 118-2002 was signed to grant amnesty to businesses that are not compliant with the National Building Code and the zoning law due to circumstances beyond their control.

“Marami kasi ang naapektuhan ng pandemic ang mga pinagkakitaan nila kaya naka-isip ang city na makatulong din para maka-recoup muna sa kabuhayan.”

“Marami kasi ang na-apektuhan ng pandemic ang mga pinagkakitaan nila kaya naka-isip ang city na makatulong din para maka-recoup muna sa kabuhayan (Many were affected by the pandemic that is why the city thought of helping them recoup their livelihood),” Refuerzo said.

 “The easing of guidelines is also based on an Administrative Order issued in 2009 which allowed the issuance of business permits under special circumstances.”

She explained the easing of guidelines is also based on an Administrative Order issued in 2009 which allowed the issuance of business permits under special circumstances.

Refuerzo said that under the 2009 order, all businesses must secure a business permit with the approval of the Building Official and City Planning officer but this may be waived by the city under these special circumstances: if the structure was built before the effectivity of the Building Code when there was a pending townsite or building permit application, when the business is a sari-sari store or a small-scale business, or when there is proof of the right of possession.

The order, however, cautioned that “the issuance of a business permit shall not be regarded as an alternative of a building permit and does not extend to a license to construct buildings”.

She added that the issuance of the business permit should also not prejudice the demolition of structures that are considered illegal, ruinous, or abandoned, and is not an assurance of the structural integrity of the business premises.

Refuerzo further said that the easing of requirements during the implementation of the amnesty will be an opportunity for the concerned lessors, lessees, and other independent business operators to exert diligent efforts to perfect their titles, possession, and ownership over the land and buildings where they operate.

Since 2021, Baguio City has been granting permits to new businesses with deficient building code and zoning ordinance requirements provided that they will correct their deficiencies within one year.

“But even if the city is strict in implementing this provision, it is empowered to adopt measures to protect and help its residents recover from the harmful effects of man-made or natural disasters and calamities like the pandemic and the city council resolution is an exercise of such power,” Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s statement after the signing of the city council measure read.

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