Please listen, Mr. President
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
When he arrives in Negros Occidental today, President Benigno Aquino III will not fail to notice the big posters displayed all over the city and highways by the Business Community of Bacolod City, appealing for his help.
This is because this sector is now alarmed over the threat of being compelled to comply with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9514 that requires them, particularly the hotels, dormitories, pension houses and other commercial buildings to install an automatic fire suppression system, or sprinkler system, in their establishments.
Under the amended law, this will take effect on February 14, 2013. Those who will be affected by this implementation are aghast at its implications because such installations, especially on already existing structures, will entail structural difficulties and major renovations, which will not only be costly, but will also force them to stop operations while the work is going on. Hotels and dormitories, particularly, will suffer great losses, since they will not be able to accept guests while construction, which entails installation of water tanks and water lines to all the rooms and offices will render them unfit for occupancy.
Another onerous result of this will be its impact on the tourism industry of the country, which is a major thrust of the present government. For how can a town or city continue to campaign for visitors when it cannot offer the facilities required in the months when the installation of such systems are taking place? For sure the momentum already perceived lately will come to a halt.
Perhaps the government can start by strictly requiring this of still to be constructed, buildings or those under construction while allowing existing ones to adopt alternatives.
The lament of the local business community that they may die if this requirement is imposed as scheduled is no exaggeration. Its effect on their tourism potential will be something they cannot recover from for a long, long time. For this to happen when the tourism industry in this country is perceived to be picking up is, indeed, truly lamentable.*