• Upscale Subic residents slam excavations

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    SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: Alleged illegal construction and excavation work being undertaken by an American resident in one of the upscale villages here has caused uproar among his neighbors expressing concern for their safety.

    Brian Lance Giles, who was given a 50-year lease on a 740-square-meter area by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for P3.7 million through Cebu Tranquila Realty, Inc. (CTRI), represented by his wife Anna Belen Giles, has started construction and excavation works on a steep slope between Alpha and Beta Streets in Binictican.

    SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia said Giles is facing penalties from the agency’s Ecology Department, including possible cancellation of his contract.

    Homeowners in the upscale village said the earth works have not only resulted in the cutting of trees and stripping of vegetation, but also put at risk nearby houses in the area.

    Telecommunications company executive Eric Alberto, whose house is closest to the Giles, earlier wrote to Garcia, saying he and other neighbors are deeply disturbed and concerned about their safety “due to the monstrosity of the construction work in the area leveled by back hoes and bulldozers.”

    “We do not understand why and how SBMA opened up a program to lease such spaces which were beautiful natural forest cover,” Alberto said in his letter.

    Other neighbors of Giles include Jorge Araneta of the Araneta Group and apparently reelected Sen. Richard Gordon.

    Garcia said Giles also exceeded the scope of his permit, that the supposedly 740-sqm. area already expanded to an area over 2,000-sqm.

    Mrs. Giles has reportedly admitted to the danger posed by the construction in their lot, but argued in a letter to Garcia that “any delay could cause irreparable harm should the rainy season start and we cannot be more clear in our position to not to stop our work to level the site for proper drainage.

    Meanwhile, Olongapo City Environment & Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Marife Castillo said there is clearly a violation of the Forestry Code, among others, and added that she will cause the filing of appropriate criminal cases against Giles and others concerned.

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