There is one town south of Cebu where you cannot just simply get building permit application forms, you will have to undergo a brief orientation with the municipal engineer before he hands you the application forms. The orientation is basically about the “contractor’s tax” that he is asking. Contractor’s tax is requested at 3 to 5 percent, and the chief engineer explains this is a different kind of tax because it will have no receipt as it is a kind of mutual discreet agreement between the contractor and him. The building official further explains – if you cannot afford the 3 or 5 percent, then you may just take their supervision package of at least five thousand per month. He or one of his men will visit your project in the weekends to supervise your project. By agreeing to either the 3 or 5 percent or the supervision package, you will be assured of the occupancy permit which is issued during completion of your house project. If you’ve experienced something like this before, please feel free to share in the comments below… At first, I was a bit surprised that his assistant did not have ready forms for walk in visitors. He had to call the chief engineer who was at a different office that time.
Well it was my first time facing with such a very corrupt government official like that. Most of the municipal engineer personnel I’ve met in other municipalities before do not directly talk about how much they’re asking for; instead they try to look for the minutest insignificant glitch in your documents and they offer to fix it for you for a significant fee. One OBO personnel in one town north of Cebu insists your tax declaration payer name should coincide with your title even if it already coincides with the name on the deed of sale. Then he proceeds in offering his wife’s service to fix this for ten thousand pesos.
In my interviews with the other contractors around Cebu, most of them still do the old practice of inserting three to five thousand pesos in the building permit papers upon submission to the municipal engineer / office of the building official. This practice ensures your papers are processed faster and they even call or text you to update you on your application. Those who do not know this practice will have to suffer the consequences – to wait several months to get the building permit or be slapped with additional unnecessary requirements and other impediments. One city – very close to Cebu City is so well known by contractors to be very strict and difficult if you don’t insert some cash in your papers…
Other well-known practice is to hand out two to three thousand pesos during the OBO personnel’s site inspection on your project. By doing this, you will be ensured of a clean slate in his inspection papers.