CICC eyed as new City Hall-A A +A
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
CEBU CITY -- The Mandaue City Government is considering the idea of buying the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) and turning it into the new City Hall.
Mayor Jonas Cortes said the CICC is an ideal building for a City Hall because it stands in a strategic location, but also said other properties are being considered.
The City plans to construct a new City Hall because the existing building in Barangay Centro can no longer house all their offices.
“We are toying with the idea of acquiring (the CICC),” Cortes told reporters yesterday. Other options include the reclamation area in Barangay Labogon and the old public market.
It was during an interview last March 1 that Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale raised no objection to any plan on Mandaue City’s part to buy the CICC from Cebu Province.
Mandaue owns the land where the facility was built in 2006 during the first term of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, in time for a Southeast Asian leaders’ summit.
Cebu Province, which built the CICC, has hired an events and property management company, Philippine Exhibits and Theme Parks Corp., to run the facility.
When his comment was sought on the possible sale of the CICC, Rep. Pablo John Garcia, One Cebu’s candidate for governor, declined.
“Magpale should also refrain from making any long-term decisions regarding the property because she hasn’t been and will never be elected governor,” Garcia said.
The third district congressman added that Magpale is running for vice governor so she should leave that decision on the CICC to the next governor. Magpale was designated as acting governor last Dec. 19, with the six-month suspension of Governor Garcia.
Magpale’s spokesperson, lawyer Dara Acusar, recently revealed that the Capitol has been spending more to maintain the CICC than what it earns from the building.
The Court of Appeals also upheld last month a trial court’s decision ordering the Province to pay a contractor an additional P257.4 million for extra work done on the CICC.
This would bring the CICC’s total construction cost to over P850 million.
Mayor Cortes, for his part, said the graft case involving the CICC may be an impediment in acquiring the property. He said he does not want the City to get entangled in the ongoing legal battle.
“Wa mi magsalig ana gyud. Daghan ta og options. Naay laing mga properties nga katukuran sa atong government center (We do not rely on the CICC. We have more options. There are other properties where we can build a government center),” Cortes said.
He added the City may not be able to wait until the case is resolved, because they need to transfer to a new City Hall at the soonest time possible.
“Necessity calls for us to have a new government center,” he said.
If ever the City buys the convention center, Cortes said, they should pay less than the cost of constructing the building because of the property’s depreciation.
In a separate interview, City Administrator James Abadia said the City may have to borrow money if officials decide to buy the CICC.
Another possible location for the new City Hall is a 14-hectare lot in Barangay Labogon, but they are facing some legal impediments in acquiring the property.
Abadia said they plan to build a new City Hall during the next term of Mayor Cortes, if he wins a second reelection this May.
He said the existing City Hall, built in 1937, can no longer accommodate all their offices. The City plans to turn it into a museum.
Some offices like the City Engineering Office and the Department of General Services are housed in separate buildings several meters away.
“It’s time we have a new government center,” Abadia said.
Cortes said establishing a new government center is one the City’s projects under the Performance Governance System, a strategic and performance management tool the City is implementing in partnership with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
Cortes said the City has had no formal talks yet with Capitol about the City’s interest in acquiring the convention center.
The CICC management board, which includes representatives from Mandaue City, will meet this month. Cortes said the board will review how well the CICC was operated in the past years.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2013.