Espinoza: A big waste?

Free Zone

WILL the construction of the 20-story Cebu Provincial Resource Center continue once governor-elect Gwen Garcia assumes office in June 30? Assuming this project would not see completion, because of Garcia’s public pronouncement after her proclamation, that she does not want this project to be part of her program of government. What a big waste!

The outgoing elected officials and the department heads of the Cebu Provincial Government already received a written notice from incoming governor Garcia “not to process any and all billings related to the project,” referring to the Cebu Provincial Resource Center that was conceived and implemented by outgoing Gov. Junjun Davide and now the incoming vice governor.

The project that will house the government offices, like a one-stop shop for national government agencies and private firms is worth P1.2 billion. The Capitol officials proceeded with the implementation of the project despite objections from some quarters that the building is a photo bomber because it could degrade the historical value of Capitol, which was built during the American period.

The contractor, WTCI, however, is continuing the civil works even after receiving the letter from governor-elect Garcia that her administration won’t pay the contract price. As a matter of fact, Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre refused to approve the contractor’s bill of P194.8 million for the mobilization fee.

The refusal of Salubre to pay the 15 percent mobilization fee can be described in one word “nakabawos” (avenged). To recall, Salubre was among the capitol officials who were suspended together with then governor Garcia over the purchase of the submerged Balili property in Naga City.

But even with the refusal of Salubre to pay the mobilization fee to WTCI, the contractor still continues to do the civil works on the project. This is because, on the part of the WTCI, its contract with the Province of Cebu is already consummated and perfected.

But would WTCI continue the construction work if Capitol won’t pay its billings? Well, only WTCI could answer this question. I know though that WTCI is one of the big AAA contractors in Cebu City. It’s perhaps safe to assume that it has so much funds that it could finish the project even if Capitol won’t pay its accomplishment billings.

It may be recalled that WTCI was the contractor of the controversial Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in Mandaue City when governor-elect Garcia was then the governor during the time of former Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The CICC was hurriedly constructed as one of the venues for the Asean Summit.

What I am simply conveying is that the owners of WTCI already established a business relationship with Garcia. Even if the incoming governor may not like the 20-story Cebu Provincial Resource Center project of outgoing Gov. Davide, but to avoid a legal battle that may ensue, Garcia may allow the completion of the center, but with some modifications according to her wish.

Because of the implementation of this project, the old building, which was part of the Capitol compound, that used to house the courts and later on the office of the DepEd, was demolished. If governor-elect Garcia would not pursue the completion of this project, the excavation on the lot would leave a big hole in Capitol. Unless, she has something different or a better project in mind.


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