Seven business groups in Bacolod City are calling on President Benigno Aquino III to prevent the retroactive implementation of a national law that they say will cause local businesses to die.
“By February 14, 2013, Business in Bacolod will Die, Mr. President, please help us,” is the message on streamersalong main roads of Bacolod City, from the city’s business community.
The business groups are asking for the exemption of existing buildings from the retroactive clauseset in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9514, or the Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008 that requires the installation of sprinkler systems.
They are asking that they instead just be required to providesmoke alarm systems, architect Ramiro Garcia, chairman of the Bacolod Ad-Hoc Committee on the Fire Code of the Philippines, said.
He said they hope the president takes notice of their concern during his visit to Negros Occidental today and acts on it.
“We ask for fairness in the implementation of the laws of our land and we seek the intervention of His Excellency as our last resort,” Garcia said.
The Code requires the installation of automatic sprinkler systemsthat are difficult to implement in existing buildings and would cost millions of pesos and the closure of numerous businesses, Garcia said.
The appeal for action from the president is being made by theBacolod Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Negros Occidental Filipino-Chinese Amity Club Inc., Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros Occidental, Chamber of Real Estate Builders’ Association-Bacolod Chapter, Philippine Retailers Association-Bacolod Chapter and United Architects of the Philippines-Bacolod Chapter representing practically all commercial establishments in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, he said.
The IRR of RA 9514 was issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government on June 14, 2009 and a moratorium on its implementation was granted until February 14 next year.
The seven groups are asking that its provisions, which include the automatic sprinkler systems, be made applicable to new buildings and structures, and that the status quo be maintained for existing buildings and structures.
Garcia said that after talking to Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo they thought their concerns could be addressed in the IRR, but now they are told it will require an amendment to the law.
To be affected by the most by the sprinkler system provision will be hotels , dormitories and malls in the city, Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said he has been able to set up a meeting between Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who is expected to be in Bacolod today with JV Tanpinco, Ben Ortega and other business leaders to discuss their concerns.
“Hopefully, their concerns can be clarified and that after the meetings each party will be able to understand the other’s position, said Leonardia, who met with the business leaders late yesterday.*CPG