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New Iloilo Convention Center component questioned

/ 01:00 AM September 07, 2015

ILOILO CITY—How much is the total cost of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) and when will the project be fully completed?

These questions have arisen after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced bidding for a previously unmentioned component of the project just two weeks before its scheduled inauguration.

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In a post at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System portal on Aug. 29, the DPWH Western Visayas office invited contractors to bid for civil works titled “Fit-Outs to complete the Operation and Management (Civil Works) to Iloilo Convention Center.”

The project has an approved budget for the contract of P62,947,025.32 and a completion period of 60 calendar days.

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The invitation describes the scope of work as: “Fit-outs to include supply and installation of folding wall partitions, hydro pneumatic pumps, bladder tank, holding tank, kitchen sink, main feeder and generator wire connection, packaged air-cooled conditioning unit, pump/motors and accessories, battery packs, other building finishes and concrete pavement as shown in the bill of quantities.”

Fit out refers to design and completion of buildings usually of interior spaces prior to occupation.

The bidding is scheduled on Sept. 22 at the DPWH regional office in Iloilo City.

Edilberto Tayao, DPWH Western Visayas director, said the latest work is funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, an agency under the Department of Tourism, which owns the building.

The latest component of the project has raised the cost of ICC to P769,319,737.31. This includes P492,249,487 for the first phase, P185,672,122.62 for the second phase, P28,451,101.98 for site development and the latest component of the project.

The DPWH previously said the total cost of the project is P747 million.

A DPWH project profile states that the first phase of the project covered the construction of the concrete components of building; electrical and mechanical works, finishing, painting and plumbing; and exterior wall finishes.

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The second phase covered building finishes, sanitary and plumbing fixtures and accessories and installation of air-conditioning and ventilation equipment as well as electrical and lighting systems and escalators.

The ongoing site development covers the putting up of a fountain, fences, driveways, gates and barrier, guardhouses and landscaping.

Former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada questioned the latest project component.

“Phase II was for the completion of the ICC. But the scope of works (of the latest component) shows items that should have been included in Phase II. This brings the project cost to about P800 million, to include the site development works, furniture and fixtures, light, video and sound system …,” Mejorada said.

Mejorada had filed criminal and administrative charges against Senate President Franklin Drilon and other top officials for alleged overpricing and other irregularities in the ICC project but the Ombudsman dismissed the complaints for lack of evidence.

The DPWH has awarded all the contracts for the two phases of the building construction and site development (totaling P706,372,711.99) to Hilmarc’s Construction Corp., also the contractor of the controversial Makati City Hall Building II.

The ICC is set for inauguration on Sept. 14 to be led by President Aquino.

But just on Aug. 27, the DPWH awarded the site development contract to HCC, the sole contractor that submitted a bid on Aug. 24. The contract has a completion period of 90 days.

Tayao said the ICC was already completed but the site development would be completed before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings set in this city starting on Sept. 21.  Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas

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