Philippines Blog #57 – Ready But Still No Permits

15  December 2009

It is three weeks since the project engineer applied for the building permits. He now has a breakdown of the amount he has to pay but as, surprise surprise, the city engineer has been sent away from his office on an assignment for the mayor, he is not available to sign the permit. We are told he is back in his office tomorrow. So we live in hope that he will find the time to sign so that the project engineer can pay and collect the permits.
Apparently the amount due also includes contractor tax which is officially not due until April next year and in any case is levied once and in Manila where Northcon is based. This effectively means that our contractor is being double taxed. I suggested that they might want to discuss this with the BIR who administer taxes in the Philippines to ensure it is a legitimate charge. What this has to do with issuing our building permits we have no idea but it illustrates the stranglehold of red tape in this country. The contractor says they will pay but not until next April when it is normally due. There is also no reason why they should pay tax in advance but again they will confirm their rights with the BIR.
The site in contrast is actually ready to go, at least for the Hyner house. The adjoining site for the Mangligot house is still being backfilled and it is early days. But they will operate two shifts a day now to catch up and they expect to complete both houses at the same time as the Mangligot house is smaller.
We met Jerry, the MD of Northcon, on site today for a demonstration of the wall construction. No concrete was poured but they assembled the wire mesh around the styrofoam panel together with the spacers and the steel rod columns which will bind together the outer and inner concrete walls that sandwich the insulation. We then discussed the further development of the project: a perimeter wall, backfill for the driveway and access road, and a pool. The latter has the advantage that as we have raised the site by so much there is little or no need to dig down and it is more a question of backfilling to create the ground around the pool. Of course in the end it will come down to what we can afford, but it’s nice to daydream.
It was a beautiful late afternoon and we again stayed until the sun set over the mountains to the west of us. It should make the view from our lanai quite spectacular. All around us are the newly planted rice fields. Only the back of our lot and the adjoining land we have rented is still waiting for rice which will happen in stages once the construction area is safely above the irrigation water level.
Yet again we noticed how few insects were bothering us. Quite a contrast from the yard of the house we are renting where I am constantly attacked by midges, mosquitoesand ants unless I apply some OFF cream. I think they wait in the shade of large mango trees that occupy one side of the yard above the kubo.