Water cut off during MECQ

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/06:41:25pm 07/14/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on June 9, 2021)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Several residents of a high-end condominium complex here have complained that they were deprived of water when their tap lines were cut off by the management just as the city was put under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In their complaint letter sent to reporters, a group of homeowners have accused the people behind One Oasis condominium of violating their rights, as they asserted the decision of the management to disconnect their water connection could be due to a series of grievances they sent out to real estate giant Filinvest Land, the company that owns the complex, starting in 2017.

“This is clearly a retaliation against us,” said Karl Yngojo, one of the homeowners of One Oasis, in a phone interview.

Yngojo said their water connection was cut June 1, the first day of the imposition of the 15-day MECQ in Cagayan de Oro.

In a statement, the Filinvest Land management has claimed that the homeowners whose water connection was cut have been “have been remiss with payments of association dues and utility charges with some for as long as 3 years.”

“In keeping with the condominium corporation policies, which the homeowners are aware of, their water access was discontinued. Up until recently and despite the non-payments, they have continued to enjoy access to amenities and common services including security, property management, maintenance and housekeeping funded by dues paid by the other homeowners of One Oasis Cagayan de Oro,” said Ivy Gamotin, Filinvest Land geographic project manager for North Mindanao.

But Yngojo said he and a few other occupants of the condominium who have raised their complaints may have been targeted since there are other homeowners who have been delinquent in their payments but continue to have access to water.

He said this situation could put them at risk as they need water for their daily needs and to keep themselves clean.

“In the time that minimum health standards require constant hand washing and bathing, we could not imagine that a Corporation, who touts itself as “Resort Living,” could hold such blind, inconsiderate, and inhuman impulse to simply lock out a basic human need and a basic human right,” the homeowners said in a statement.

Access to water, they said, cannot simply be treated as a bargaining chip for the corporation.

“True, many of us are not paying association dues in protest because doing so would amount to condoning the gross contractual breaches incurred by the Corporation. But this does not justify their action of depriving us of life-sustaining water,” they said, referring to One Oasis Condo Corp., the entity that manages the complex, which, the unit owners asserted, consists of only Filinvest Land employees with no representation from the residents.

What is more insidious about this move, they added, is “they disconnected our water supply even if most of us were paying the proper water dues. Their clear abuse of the provisions found in the House Rules and Regulation and the Master Deed is a violation of Article 19 of the Civil Code.”

Yngojo, who started residing at One Oasis in 2017, said several homeowners have been complaining for years about some alleged inadequacies in the complex, among them, low quality floor tiles, untidy swimming pool and comfort rooms, non-compliance of the building code, CCTV laws, sanitation, proper waste disposal, and non-observance of occupational health and safety standards.

The homeowners also accused the condominium management of not observing the interagency task force guidelines on measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are concerned about the blatant disregard of the existing health protocols since the start of the pandemic last year. Fitness gyms, pools and daily leasing (more than 50% capacity contrary to IATF Guidelines) have been in full operation,” they said.

The city’s QR code, they said, was never implemented until late May upon the homeowners’ insistence and demands. Sanitation, disinfection and wearing of face masks were never observed.

“Having said all these, we are more than willing to cooperate with government authorities and share the pictures and videos taken by concerned residents,” they added.

For its part, the condominium management said it will continue to implement the house rules.

“The reality is the vast majority of the homeowners are current in all their payments and the Condo Corp. has been even handed in applying the House Rules to all the homeowners. It is unfortunate that until now, they haven’t expressed any intentions to comply. We understand that there may be circumstances unknown to us. We will continue to uphold the house rules to be fair to all homeowners who are forced to carry the burden of the remiss payments,” Gamotin said.

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