THE ILOILO City government here is poised to take over the controversial P130 million housing project in Barangay Ungka, Pavia, Iloilo by rescinding the contract of Ace Builders and Enterprises (ABE).

New Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the contractor has stopped construction of the project in the city-owned lot of more than 11 hectares in Pavia in 2003 after it was reported that ABE is using substandard construction materials.

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The City Government also refused to pay the contractor's fourth billing of some P4 million.

The project of more than 400 low-cost housing units became a white elephant after it was caught in the bureaucratic system and some 300 finished housing units were vandalized and parts stolen by unknown persons.

The City Council had already passed three resolutions by rescinding the contract of ABE. The same resolutions requested to then city mayor Jerry P. Treñas to initiate legal action against the contractor.

It depends on the chief executive and the City Legal Office (CLO) to decide on whether to revoke the contract based on the opinion of the Commission on Audit (COA).

The City Government has already paid more than P83 million to the contractor for the 61 percent completion of the project and had fully paid the interest and loan principal at the Philippine Veterans Bank.

Mabilog said he is contemplating the use of the area as a one-stop government center for government services and other amenities such as a sports complex or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) center.

He said he will soon create a special body to look over by legal means the possibilities of using the area profitably. (Lydia C. Pendon)