Monday, May 20, 2019

Nalzaro: Is Capitol’s new building a priority?


LIKE the proposed construction in Mandaue City of a government center that will house the new City Hall and which has been questioned by some people who said it is not a priority, is the planned new building inside the Capitol compound a priority? The Capitol obtained a loan from a government bank amounting to P1.5 billion to finance the project, which has already been bidded. WT Construction, the company that built the controversial Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), was awarded the contract.

But there are questions why Gov. Hilario Davide III is eagerly pursuing the project despite opposition from some quarters. He defied advice and suggestions. The question is, if Gwen Garcia wins in next year’s elections, will she still pursue the project? Some say Gwen can no longer stop the project nor rescind the contract as it has already been bidded out and has the concurrence of the Provincial Board.

Of the 20 stories, only few floors will be occupied by Capitol offices while the other floors will be used as parking areas and will be rented for private commercial purposes.

They say the situation is similar to the sale of South Road Property (SRP) lots during the term of former mayor Michael Rama, who sold some 45 hectares to three major land developers, SM Prime Holdings, Ayala Land Inc., and Filinvest Inc. When the “former political has-been” took over City Hall after winning the 2016 elections, he sought to rescind the contract but failed to do it. That is why he just wants a settlement.

But do you know that the construction of the new building inside the Capitol compound is the subject of betting by some individuals with entrepreneurial mind? Here’s an email I got:

“An interesting situation is brewing in a number of Cebu coffee shops. People are betting whether or not Gwen Garcia will rescind the province’s contract with WT Construction to build Capitol’s 20-story Resource Center Project inside the Capitol compound. The project is not a basic service the province is mandated to provide its constituents. The decision to put all the provincial offices in one area in Cebu City violates the reasonable mode/concept of decentralization.

“There are existing edifices to repair/renovate in the Capitol for the purpose instead of constructing a new monumental structure. The proposed modern structure in a declared ‘Heritage Site’ as the Capitol, violates this heritage compliance concept.

“The proposed structure will definitely generate monstrous traffic during the construction and upon operation. No traffic impact scheme will resolve this already congested section of Cebu City. A local government should not compete with the private sector in providing office and or commercial space for business purposes.

“The Province of Cebu has no track record of operating/maintaining a business enterprise that will derive additional income to government. Cebu is the richest province in the Philippines and obtaining a loan to finance a non-priority/inappropriate project, is an ill-advised financial decision.”

Well, let us see what Gwen can do if she conquers the Capitol again. Let’s see the scattered.


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