AFTER eight years, the construction of the 10-story Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) was supposed to be completed this month following Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s promise last December to finish the building; however, as of Wednesday, the remaining three floors were just about to be worked on.
During City Hall’s flag-raising ceremony last Dec. 18, Rama had vowed to complete the 10th floor of the CCMC by February 2024 at no cost to the Cebu City Government, saying, “We already have the money, money that did not come from City Hall.”
However, CCMC medical director Peter Mancao, in an interview on Jan. 31, 2024, said the construction of the vertical and horizontal development were yet to start within February.
Vertical development involves the eighth, ninth and 10th floors, while the horizontal developments involve furnishing the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh floors.
Mancao said if the construction begins as planned this month, the target completion date would be within one year.
Mancao said Thursday, Feb. 1, that the construction works in CCMC stopped when the City Government and its previous contractor, M.E. Sicat Construction, agreed to terminate their contract in November 2022.
Rama cancelled the P900 million contract of M.E. Sicat Construction to undertake Phase 4 of the CCMC, alleging delays in the completion of the building. Rama said he could no longer bear the delays in the completion of the public hospital, whose construction started in 2015 during his second term as mayor.
M.E. Sicat, however, said it was compliant with the contract, signed on April 6, 2022, which gave it until late 2023 yet to complete the work.
At the time of the contract’s termination, Michael Allan Sicat, president of M.E. Sicat Construction, told SunStar Cebu that they were still doing finishing works on the third and fourth floors, while construction of the seventh to 10th floors was on hold because they were still doing some tests to check that the first to sixth floors—which were built by other contractors—were done properly.
Who will build?
Asked about the contractor that would undertake the construction of the unfinished floors, Mancao said since it would be privately funded, the City Government would no longer conduct a bidding.
Mancao said Rama had asked Pericles Dakay, chief executive officer of Dakay Construction and Development Corp., to take the lead.
“Mao ni ang nakaayo ani karon kay the construction would be privately funded. Unya dili na ta moagi og bidding. Karon ang gihangyo ni Mayor Mike nga mo-take sa lead kay si engineer Dakay,” said Mancao.
(This is better now because the construction would be privately funded, and we no longer have to go through a bidding process. Mayor Mike has requested engineer Dakay to take the lead now.)
In March 2023, then special assistant to the mayor and now Budget Officer Jerone Castillo said there were four Filipino private companies and a group of Chinese businessmen who pledged nearly P1 billion in funds to complete the construction of the CCMC’s eighth to 10th floors.
It was reported that the Cebu Medical Society would receive the pledges from the private entities. This was for the sake of transparency and to avoid issues of government officials pocketing the donations.
Mancao said Thursday that the memorandum of agreement for receiving the donations should be ready within the week.
The private entities that pledged to help the City complete the CCMC include Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Ayala Land Inc., D.M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI) Holdings, Filinvest Land Inc., Megawide Construction Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., SBS Philippines Corp., SM Prime Holdings Inc., and a Chinese and Canadian groups.
Since 2015, almost P2 billion has already been spent by the City for the construction of the new CCMC, but until now the building is not yet finished.
Mancao said three floors of the hospital are currently being utilized, housing the outpatient department and some in-patient services.
Once the furnishing of the fourth to seventh floors will be completed, they will house the operating room and delivery room complex (fourth floor); pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) and other ICU facilities (fifth floor); administration offices (sixth floor); and the Operation Smile, a cleft care center, and eye institute (seventh floor).
Mancao said the government-run hospital has a current capacity of 180 beds, and this is expected to increase to 500 once the hospital is completed.
He also said minor revisions to the original plan are being made to prioritize the addition of more wards over private rooms.
He said the eighth, ninth, and 10th floors will be used as wards.
While the budget for the construction remains undisclosed, Mancao said all expenses will be privately sourced through the mayor’s office.
After the City terminated the contract for Phase 4 of the building, it formed an investigation committee in April 2023 and discovered defects in the construction of the new CCMC building.
Months after that, retrofitting and fixing works were conducted by past contractors of the building, such as C.E. Padilla Construction Inc. and C.B. Garay Philwide Builders.
In July 2023, Rama said he wanted the CCMC fully operational by the last quarter of 2023, saying he was committed to finishing the construction before his term ends in 2025.
Before that, in July 2022, Rama also said he wanted the hospital to be finished on or before his birthday of that year, or on Oct. 28, 2022. M.E. Sicat’s failure to fulfill the mayor’s wish led to the cancellation of its contract to undertake Phase 4 of the building.
It has almost been almost a decade since the construction of the new CCMC building started. Under Rama’s leadership, the City held a groundbreaking ceremony to pave the way for the construction of the new CCMC on July 14, 2014.
The construction began on July 4, 2015, during Rama’s second term as mayor. The hospital is being built to replace the old CCMC building, which was damaged by the 2013 Bohol and Cebu earthquake.