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Cortes considers CICC as Mandaue city hall

Amid controversies hounding the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), built at a cost of more than a billion pesos for the 2007 hosting of Cebu of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, the Mandaue City government is seriously toying with the idea of buying it and convert the facility into a city hall.

But Mayor Jonas Cortes wishes the cases that involved the facility will be resolved soon.

“We are seriously toying the idea of acquiring but we have to wait for the results of the graft case involving the facility, and the price should not be at cost, it should be the depreciated value,” Cortes said.

He added, the Mandaue city government can leverage its joint venture with the provincial Capitol for the management of the facility as owner of the prime commercial land where the CICC stands in the Mandaue Reclamation Area .

“Dili sad ciguro makataronganon nga kung unsay nagasto sa probinsiya kay mao pud na cost nga atong bayran,” Cortes said.

(It would not be fair that should we buy the CICC, we will be billed the actual cost of building it.)

In December 2012, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales gave the green light for a criminal and administrative investigation of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and six other Capitol officials over alleged irregularities in the extra work worth P263.2 million done by the private contractor on the CICC.

The Capitol originally spent about P800 million to build the facility.

Aside from the graft case, the city treasurer of Mandaue is also reviewing the tax dues of the outsourcing firm that was contracted to manage the CICC, the Philippine Exhibits and Themeparks Corporation (Petco).

The Mandaue treasurer is now questioning Petco which only reported gross receipts of P1.25 million for 2012, after the provincial treasurer reported to Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale that the Capitol paid P3 million to Petco in 2012.

Magpale’s spokesperson Dara Acusar had told the media that the payment of Capitol to the CICC is an indicator that the facility is not earning despite its status as an income generating facility.

If plans push through, Mayor Cortes wants to use the sprawling facility for a modern City Hall that would house all local government offices, including the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The 75-year-old Presidencia building said Cortes could not accommodate all offices anymore.

“Our intention is to have a government center that is a one stop shop. Where those transacting with the local government will no longer to go to other locations to complete their transaction,” Cortes said in Cebuano.

Aside from the CICC, the Mandaue city government is setting sight on other locations like the 14-hectare reclaimed property in barangay Labogon and even the 800 square meter old public market lot in barangay Centro.

City Administrator James Abadia also said that the plan of building a government center will push through if Cortes will win in his third term in the May elections.

And money is not a problem added Abadia since they can apply for a loan in banks to finance the new City Hall. /Jucell Marie P. Cuyos, Reporter

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