THE National Government is willing to help rehabilitate the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), a Mandaue City official said.

City Legal Officer Giovanni Tianero said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expressed interest to fund the repair of the heavily-damaged building, if it gets a proposal.

“Plans are still in the initial stages,” Tianero said in a recent news conference organized by the Mandaue City Public Information Office.

The City, which owns the lot where the CICC stands, wants to buy the building from the Cebu Provincial Government but the two local government units (LGUs) have yet to agree on a price.

The CICC, built during the time of former Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia and former mayor Thadeo Ouano, was a joint venture of the two LGUs. It was built for the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Cebu in 2007.

Tianero said the idea to have the National Government provide funds to rehabilitate the CICC was raised during a visit of President Benigno Aquino III.

A DTI official later visited City Hall to discuss the idea.

Based on initial talks, the DTI will use a portion of the CICC if it funds the building’s repair, Tianero said.

The multi-million structure has been lying idle for almost two years. It was badly damaged by the 7.3-magnitude earthquake and typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

The City wants to turn the building into an expo center.

At first, it considered converting the CICC into a new City Hall but the plan did not push through.

The City and the Cebu Provincial Government have considered tapping a government bank as a third party to assess the building’s value, so the negotiation for the buy-out moves forward.