CAPITOL lawmakers again deferred approval of a resolution that would authorize the governor to hire a consultancy firm for a 12-storey building within the Provincial Government’s compound.
Some members of the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) pointed out that the amendments they had suggested were not incorporated in the draft contract for the project.
“There seem to be vague areas in the contract,” said PB Member Edsel Galeos in the board’s session last Monday, Sept. 12.
What’s at stake is a contract for the feasibility study, detailed architectural and engineering design, and construction supervision for the building, which is expected to cost P832 million.
Gov. Hilario Davide III is seeking the PB’s authorization to hire A.S. Enriquez Engineering Consultancy, which will get P57 million for all three tasks.
Another contractor would be asked to build the facility. For its tasks, A.S. Enriquez would get 120 days for the planning and design; 60 days for “assistance in the procurement of civil works” and 16 months to supervise the construction.
The resolution first reached the PB last Aug. 1 but they asked for more time to study it. It was again introduced in the middle of August, but the PB wanted to speak with members of the bids and awards committee (BAC) about the project.
Last Sept. 5, Provincial General Services Office (PGSO) head Siegfred Sepe and Provincial Engineer Hector Jamora, who are BAC members, attended the session and took the PB members’ questions.
Some legislators were apprehensive about giving all three tasks to one consultancy firm.
“If the consultant finds the project not viable (in the feasibility study), does that mean that the Capitol would still pay him monthly?” Galeos asked Sepe and Jamora. (Galeos is also an engineer and contractor.)
After the feasibility study and the detailed architectural and engineering design are done, legislators asked, what if no contractor would agree with the project’s design?
Some PB members also questioned Clause 53 of the contract, which states that payments will be scheduled every “15 days after the end of each calendar month.”
They asked for clear guidelines on measuring the contractor’s work output and results.
Clause 54 provides for final payment after the approval of the final report by the Province.
The consultant’s services “shall be deemed completed and finally accepted” by the Province within 90 calendar days after it receives the final report, unless it gives the contractor a written notice about some deficiencies.
Sepe explained to the PB that the payments will be based on activities and that requirements will be set before the Capitol releases funds.
For example, he said, work on succeeding phases cannot push through unless the previous phase’s tasks are completed. Jamora called this “milestone payments.”
But legislators pointed out that Jamora and Sepe’s answers were not stated in the contract.
“Why don’t we refine the contract so that we can incorporate your answers in it?” PB Member Raul Bacaltos suggested. Both department heads assured they would do that.
But in their session last Sept. 12, some legislators pointed out that the suggested amendments had not been
incorporated in the contract. So, they again deferred its approval.
Galeos said he also wants to know how the Capitol will raise the P832 million needed to complete the project: will it get a bank loan or seek a public-private partnership (PPP)?
PB Member Sun Shimura asked Jamora if the consultancy fee was within industry standards.
Jamora said that the consultancy fee is typically eight to 12 percent of the total project cost, but that Enriquez would charge the Province 7.4 percent.
But for buildings in Cebu, said Engr. Adonis Compendio, who owns an engineering services firm, said the rate is less than one percent.
Before Enriquez entered the picture, MTD Alloy, a Malaysian company, was willing to handle the pre-feasibility study for free. The company said it was open to a Swiss challenge, which would allow other firms to counter its unsolicited proposal.
The governor turned it down.
“Well, they came here, but we have our own design. We called for a public bidding for the building, and we will go for a PPP. That’s the direction,” Davide said.