An Englishman In Isabela Blog #117 – Good Neighbours

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maybe today we finally resolved all the different problems and misunderstandings with the city engineer. He will after all will be our close neighbour when we move to Patul.
Some confusion had arisen because of concerns about the backfill that had been provided by Northcon around the house and the need for additional backfill together with a fence that would not only withstand but also support the backfill. We seem to be a lot clearer now. In fact our fence will resolve problems rather than be a problem in itself.
The young engineer who assisted us had an accident on his motorcycle at the weekend so was not available today, however, he put Gina in touch with another more senior engineer who it transpires is her uncle. He explained the background to the different bits of information we received. Gina in turn explained why we had engaged a lawyer to represent us as the reasons for withholding the permit for our fence did not make sense.
There followed a meeting with the city engineer in which at last things seem to have been sorted out. Gina’s uncle introduced her to the city engineer as his niece. Both sides emphasised that we only wish to be good neighbours. I took care of Justin in the gardens outside, but apparently there was a level of transparency about what has been going on that did much to restore Gina’s (and my) confidence in both the city engineer and city engineering department. It’s a shame it had to come to a head like this but at least we understand each other now and hopefully we will not have so many problems from now on.
For our part we only ever wanted to comply with the building code and will not build unless we have the appropriate permits. As a business professional for me there has never been any other way. And although we have been encouraged by the barangay captain to act on the barangay permit alone and start building our fence, I am relieved that we decided to wait for the city hall permit. That way no one can accuse us of breaking any rules.
So maybe we understand each other better as a result of today’s discussions. We hope so anyway.  The fencing permit application will now be revised to insert concrete up to the top of backfill level and resubmitted for approval. We hope this can be done today or at the latest by Friday so that our fencing contractor can start construction.