T he Sanggunian ng mga Mag-Aaral ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila (Ateneo Sanggu) staged a protest, June 6, in front of the Quezon City Hall to appeal the resolution passed by the 17th City Council regarding the construction of an SM Development Corporation SMDC-owned 42-storey building on Katipunan Avenue corner Aurora Boulevard.
The 17th City Council passed a resolution giving SMDC a Certificate of Exemption on the March 8th session in the same day that it was introduced by City Councilor Antonio Inton Jr. The Sanggu reviewed the minutes of the said meeting and found out that there was no deliberation of the said resolution. QC Zoning Ordinance NO. SP918 S-2000 only allows buildings up to 24 stories along Katipunan Avenue; thus, Blue Residences is way over the said limit.
“What is appalling is that there were no public consultation took place. SMDC went straight to the city hall, bypassing the baranggay in order to get the permit,” said Sanggu president Mark Andrew Copuyoc. Copuyoc can’t exactly pin-point the exact reason behind the hasty decision but feels like there are under-the-table transactions connected with this issue.
When asked what the possible repercussions are on the construction of Blue Residences , Sanggu Finance Officer Stephanie Gumaru said that the traffic could be a lot worst. Copuyoc added that the Blue Residences is sitting above a fault line and when an earthquake will happen, the vicinity is in a great danger.
A few months ago, SMDC finished the construction of Berkeley Residences, also along Katipunan Avenue, in front of Loyola Grand Villas. Copuyoc and Gumaru said that the protest against Berkeley Residences didn’t push through because the entire Loyola Heights community failed to congregate themselves and voice out their opinion as a community. They said that right now, they feel the urge to speak and act against SMDC’s abuse of the zoning laws.
In a press statement, Ateneo Sanggu called for SMDC to cease construction operations “as a sign of good will and acceptance of its responsibility to seriously dialogue with stakeholders”. They also added that in any case that SMDC continues the operations, they call for the Office of the Mayor to issue a cease and desist order until a consensus from both parties have been arrived.