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Capitol officials to ask national gov’t help; cost exceeds P70 million

/ 09:26 AM January 03, 2014

On the first working day of the New Year, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III and Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes met to discuss how to repair the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) which will be the venue of large-scale gatherings in the next two years.

Where to source funds is a major concern for the Capitol, which is being pressed to pay P607 million to private contractors for unpaid obligations from the past administration.

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“If there is going to be any repair or rehabilitation, it has to be done fast,” Davide told reporters yesterday.

“That is why we agreed to meet next week with the whole CICC board precisely to study what to do with the structure, whether to fix or retrofit it and all other considerations,” he added.

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Davide said the Capitol would have to ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) to help shoulder the costs.

“We will still look for funds. It depends if we can make representations with the DOT and DPWH so that they will shoulder it. We can also share the burden of the repairs. Nothing is final yet,” he said.

Badly damaged from last year’s earthquake in October and the supertyphoon Yolanda in November, the building is a centerpiece project of former governor Gwendolyn Garcia built on land owned by the Mandaue city government.

The building, cited in Davide’s past campaign as the subject of a pending graft investigation by the Ombudsman on allegations that it was overpriced with construction costs exceeding P800 milllion, was not given much importance by the Davide administration until the national government identified it as one of the venues for meetings of next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conference and the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu on 2016.

More than P70 million is needed for the building’s repair, not including improvements for its interiors to make it suitable for hosting international events, said Davide based on the assessment report of Provincial Engineer Hector Jamora.

The facility was temporarily closed to the public after a number of its exterior walls fell after the October 15 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Interior walls suffered major cracks while electrical wirings and the water storage tank has also been damaged.

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The quake and succeeding aftershocks damaged the CICC’s front and back canopies, comfort rooms, function rooms, summit and exhibition halls as well as its gypsum board ceiling and glass panels.

The building is insured by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) but Davide said he is awaiting feedback from the Provincial General Services Office (PGSO) on details of the coverage.

Asked about the possibility of Mandaue City purchasing CICC, Davide said this can be discussed.

“That sounds good. We haven’t gone into that but we can talk about that in the future. What’s important is now because of the coming international events. We can discuss that afterwards,” Davide said.

The CICC was built within a tight schedule of several months to catch up with the ASEAN Summit in January 2007 after President Gloria Arroyo suddenly announced that Cebu would host the conference.

At present, the Capitol pays P200,000 a month to the private firm, Philippine Exhibits and Management Corporation (Petco) to manage the facility.

The CICC’s capacity to earn from rentals and its viability as an enterprise has come under question by the Davide administration.

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