In these days where centavo-pinching people just want to get more bang-for-the-buck, many people just think of the savings without minding quality.
Take, for instance, the parents’ choice of a boarding house for their children. Go around the campuses of the four universities in Dumaguete City, and you will see a lot of these houses which offer cheap rooms for students. Every parent would want an affordable boarding house, and which is ideally just a short walk to school.
Many times, the issue of safety is not anymore a consideration in selecting a boarding house.
Such was the case of the boarding house in between two major university campuses here that burned last week. In that fire, a NORSU student made it out alive, even though her body was on fire as she made a run for it. She is now in the hospital for treatment of second-degree burns.
Made out of light materials, devoid of a fire exit, and located in a neighborhood that is inaccessible by firetrucks, the house did not at all meet the standards of the City.
City Administrator William Ablong revealed they had denied that boarding house a permit, but which clearly did not stop the unscrupulous owner from operating a boarding house anyway.
With all the deficiencies, the building was an accident waiting to happen. And happen it did.
Now after the accident, the building owner could not even shoulder the medical expenses of his tenant. The student is now left to rely on the generosity of other individuals, while suffering from the wrong choice of a boarding house.
This didn’t have to happen. Someone somewhere was sleeping on the job. The operation and locations of these dangerous boarding houses are not a secret.
Perhaps this is a good time to revisit City Ordinances No. 3 series of 1999, and No. 7 series of 2000, to put more teeth into the City’s laws on the operation of boarding houses. These laws only cover boarding/lodging houses, and speak of an inspection team that examines boarding houses that are already registered with the City government. Boarding house owners who operate freely and had not registered their businesses are not be covered by the Ordinance, and can, in fact, do away with inspection.
Cheap need not be equated with dangerous.