QC folk get TRO vs new school on Katipunan | Inquirer News

QC folk get TRO vs new school on Katipunan

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 01:22 AM March 28, 2015

Quezon residents opposing the transfer of an international school to Katipunan Avenue have secured a court order temporarily preventing the local government from approving the project, which they say would not only violate the city’s zoning law but also worsen traffic in the area.

A local court judge issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against the release of permits for the construction of a 12-story building of the Multiple Intelligence International School (MIIS) in Barangay Blue Ridge A.

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The March 24 ruling of Judge Manuel Sta. Cruz Jr. of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 226 was directed at city planning and development officer Tomasito Cruz and city building officer Isagani Versoza Jr.

The two officials were the respondents named in a petition filed by Blue Ridge A residents, who have campaigned against the MIIS transfer from its present location on J. Escaler Street in Barangay Loyola Heights to the corner of Katipunan and Highland Drive in Blue Ridge.

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It’s within a ‘SUDZ’

The petitioners argued that the planned structure would violate the Revised Quezon City Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance approved by Mayor Herbert Bautista in March 2013.

Under the ordinance, they said, the new MIIS location is part of the Katipunan Special Urban Development Zone (SUDZ). The ordinance defines an SUDZ as an “area governed by certain conditions and regulations to preserve and protect their distinct character or to control physical environment, to prevent traffic congestion, deterioration of services, and other services affecting the general public.”

In a phone interview, one of the petitioners, Barangay Blue Ridge A councilor Marie Antoinette Mendoza, said an “additional school” would “definitely worsen traffic” on Katipunan and nearby streets.

Site also near fault line

“We commissioned a traffic study which showed there are already 400 to 500 cars going [regularly to the present MIIS location],” Mendoza told the Inquirer.

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Mendoza also noted that the school’s new location is near a ravine 300 meters from the West Valley fault, putting the school and community at risk in the event of a major earthquake.

The barangay officials led by village chair Gabriel Legaspi filed a petition for a TRO in December after learning that a locational clearance had been issued to the project by the city planning office a month earlier, Mendoza said.

In his order, Judge Sta. Cruz also barred the MIIS “from using the said building permit, if the same has been issued, in causing any construction work for an additional school in the Katipunan SUDZ.”

The respondents earlier argued that the revised zoning ordinance being invoked by the petitioners has yet to be ratified by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and approved by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

But Sta Cruz said: “Given that the duly enacted revised zoning ordinance was published in a newspaper of general circulation (on July 8, 2013), does it need further ratification or approval of the MMDA or the HLURB for it to be effective? Definitely no.”

‘They can’t stop ordinance’

“These agencies only coordinate or review but they cannot, by mere inaction, overturn the mandate of the local legislative body or arrest the implementation of a duly enacted ordinance,” Sta. Cruz said.

The judge added: “The Civil Code provides that laws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication either in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. After its publication, there is nothing more to be done for the zoning ordinance to take effect.”

Sta. Cruz acknowledged that there was an “urgent and paramount necessity to prevent serious damage upon the petitioners” since the respondents could issue a building permit for the project “at any time.”

Cruz, the city planning officer, could not be reached for comment at press time. MIIS directress Joy Abaquin was reportedly out of the country.

The judge set the hearings on the residents’ petition for preliminary injunction on April 6 and 7.

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TAGS: Katipunan, Mayor Herbert Bautista, Metro, Multiple Intelligence International School, Quezon City, zoning
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