FOR a string of violations, the Isetann Mall on Recto Avenue in Quiapo, Manila was closed down by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday, with a warning to all other malls and establishments that there is now a working city government that really means business. This—closing of an entire mall— is another first in the history of Manila.
Citing a closure order signed by secretary to the mayor Bernie Ang and bureau of permits chief Levi Facundo, Moreno said that Isetann will be closed, pending compliance with all the city regulations it had violated. Its permit was not revoked.
After posting a closure order sign, Moreno literally chained and padlocked the entrance of the said mall in the presence of its owner and administrator, among others, as well as throngs of media members who witnessed the event at around 2 p.m. The mall operator is Tri-Union Properties, Inc. and Trans-Orient Management Service for Cineworld Cinerama, Inc.
Moreno’s action stemmed from recommendations made by Facundo based on violations found against the operators of the said mall including misdeclaration of its size on which taxes are based, the number of staff in its employ.
In the case of Tri-Union Properties, Inc., it was found to be operating as a lessor without permits; Trans-Orient Management Services, Inc., operates its Property Management Service Provider without business permit while Cineworld Cinerama, Inc. has a permit for just one theatre when it operates a total of four cinemas.
Under its business permit, Moreno said Isetann declared its size at a total of only 1,000 square meters with ten personnel. Said permit is valid until December this year.
It will be recalled that earlier, Moreno and his Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (SMART) headed by Maj. Jhun Ibay raided the same mall for operating video karera games inside, when such is banned in the city for enticing youngsters to engage in illegal gambling.
Following that, a stolen cellphone was traced to the said mall as among those being sold by a second-hand cellphone stall.
Moreno thus issued an order banning the sale of second-hand cellphones in the city, while warning the said mall and all other similar establishments to make sure their tenants do not sell stolen phones.
A couple of days ago, a student whose cellphone was stolen reportedly traced via GPS the location of her cellphone and it was found to be at Isetann again.
This prompted an evaluation of the said mall’s permits which resulted in the discovery of many violations of city rules and regulations.