ONLY Mayor Michael Rama’s signature is needed to formally terminate the P908 million contract between M.E. Sicat Construction Inc. and the Cebu City Government involving the Phase 4 construction of the eighth to 10th floors of Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

This was relayed by lawyer Collin Rosell, secretary to the mayor, according to the information he received from the Contract Termination Review Committee (CTRC) headed by lawyer Carl Vincent Gimena, which is tasked by Rama to observe the due process in terminating the contract.

The first step the CTRC took was to ask for a “verified report” from the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) on the construction project.

Second, the CTRC sent a show cause order to M.E. Sicat and stated that they have no objection to the formal termination of the contract.

Rama ordered the contract with M.E. Sicat terminated on Nov. 9, 2022, saying he could no longer bear the delay in the completion of the public hospital.

No bidding

Rosell said Rama is expected to announce his specific plans for the CCMC during the City’s 86th Charter Day celebration on Feb. 24.

Rama had earlier said there will not be a public bidding so that the City Government will not have to spend to finish the CCMC.

Instead, a Cebuano tycoon, who wants to remain anonymous, is willing to help finish the construction of the 10-story facility under a public-private partnership arrangement, the mayor said.

7 years and counting

Since 2015, the Cebu City Government has already spent over P1 billion for the construction of the new CCMC, but the building remains finished.

The amount spent included P566.085 million for Phase 1 of the project that was done by C.E. Padilla Construction Inc., P36.33 million for Phase 1.1 awarded to Charlz Construction, P299 million for Phase 2 that was awarded to C.E. Padilla, and Phase 3 worth P99.72 million that went to winning bidder C.B. Garay Philwide Builders.

Phase 4 of the project worth P907.99 million was awarded to the M.E. Sicat Construction joint venture with Avecs Corp. on April 6, 2022. For Phase 4, the City Government had already released 15 percent of the contract price or P136,199,980 as partial payment to the contractor.

On learning of Rama’s termination of the contract last November, Michael Allan Sicat, president of M.E. Sicat Construction, told SunStar Cebu that he believed he was still compliant with the contract, as the contract gave him 570 calendar days, or until late 2023 yet, to complete the interiors of the third and fourth floors, and to construct the remaining floors of the CCMC.

Assistant City Engineer Lowell Corminal contended, however, that the M.E. Sicat joint venture had already incurred an 11.72 percent negative slippage or delay in construction works as of October 2022.

Last Nov. 16, Rosell said the City and the contractor had reached a “gentlemen’s agreement” to mutually terminate the contract for the hospital’s construction and that the City Government was just computing how much would be paid to the contractor for the work it had done so far.

The clock started ticking for the contractor after Rama expressed his wish to have the construction of the City’s public hospital completed by the mayor’s birthday on Oct. 28, 2022. (PAC / TPT)