Monday, June 14, 2021

Briones: Wishful thinking?

On the go

I COUNTED and then I counted again. It certainly looks like only six floors of the 10-story new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) on N. Bacalso Ave. have so far been built since construction began in 2015.

That’s like one floor for every year.

The City Government, which has already shelled out P1.3 billion for the project to replace the old building that was damaged by the 2013 earthquake, announced over the weekend that it would release an additional P1 billion to finally complete it.

According to City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., the amount will be the last funding the project will ever see from the City Government.

“Naa na may P500 million. Naa na sad P1 billion. I think mahuman na na with that budget,” he said.

Well, in an ideal world, Casas is right. The capital injection should be enough to complete the project. But then he only “thinks” and is therefore not sure because, let’s face it, it is a City project. I remember it took the City more than one year to cement less than 100 meters of road in Barangay Sambag 1.

Back in December, Mayor Edgardo Labella said the City was aiming for the whole building to be operational in 18 months, or before his term ends in 2022. It’s May now so we’re talking in 13 months.

Hmmm. It can happen. After all, there are three contractors — C.E. Padilla Construction Inc., C.B. Garay Philwide Builders and Charlz Construction — working on it.

In fact, I am really hoping for it to happen because the Queen City of the South deserves a decent public hospital to serve its residents, especially those who can’t afford the rates of private health care facilities.

The hospital doesn’t have to be “world-class.” That would be asking too much for a government project. But hey, with a budget like P2.3 billion, expectations are bound to be high.

The University of Cebu spent P2 billion on its 12-story medical facility in Mandaue City. That already included construction and acquisition of high-end medical equipment from abroad. Mind you, UCMed has two more floors than the new CCMC, and it was able to soft-open after two years.

So I do hope and wish the P1 billion will do the job. That is, as soon as the City will release the amount, which will be included in the first supplemental budget this year, which is still being discussed by the local finance committee, which will then endorse it to the executive department, which will then submit it to the City Council for approval.

So I guess the money should be out in no time.


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