Garcia agrees with calls for transparency

Garcia agrees with calls for transparency
CEBU. Cebu City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia.File Photo

ACTING Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia supports the City Council’s request for transparency on the plan to rebid the project to finish the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center using the P700 million in “city savings.”

In a separate interview, City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera told SunStar Cebu on Monday, July 1, 2024, there should be a tripartite agreement between the City Government, the Cebu Medical Society Inc. (CMSI) and the donors on the dispensation and liquidation of funds sourced from private firms.

Garcia was reacting to the council’s request during its regular session last Wednesday, June 26, to defer the use of the P700 million to complete construction after almost a decade of delays, pending the review and evaluation of the funding allocation and lack of concrete planning.

He referred to the breakdown of all expenses over the years of civil works, the available balance of the allocated budget and the estimated cost of upcoming rebidding and project costs.

“We can come up with a report regarding that matter and within a week we can already present that,” he said in a press conference on Monday after the launching of the Cebu City Super Family Health Center in Barangay Apas.

“Hangtod karon (Until now), under construction pa gihapon (It’s still under construction). What a shame, we are a premium city not having a hospital that is fully functional and operational,” he said.

Garcia said the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the 10-story hospital remain uncompleted and empty, while the eight to the 10th floors have yet to be built.

“A lot more has to be done to finish the CCMC, which which I think we really have to use the funding coming from government to finish it quickly,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

He said the City Government cannot rely on donations and pledges to complete the hospital as privately sourced funds that have been collected are insufficient.

Garcia raised the possibility of another round of delays if the project will be financed through donations and pledges.

“We cannot wait anymore because we are a premier city, and we need a premier hospital for our constituents of the city of Cebu. So, the faster nga mahuman (it is finished), the better for Cebu,” he said.

Construction of the CCMC started in 2015 after the old building was demolished and cleared after it was damaged by the 2013 earthquake.

Meanwhile, Garcia clarified that the rebidding process for the CCMC’s completion has not yet started, citing the ongoing review on the part of the executive regarding the budget allocation and civil works needed to finish the facility.

“I also asked for a program of work and estimate, which is a pre-requisite before we can actually bid,” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The initial target period for the rebidding was set either in the end of July or early August, he said.

Once done, the City will award the contract to a new contractor that will finish the hospital.

Garcia said he has yet to talk to CCMC chief of hospital Dr. Peter Mancao, who currently chairs the CMSI, amid questions over donated funds, stressing that they should coordinate with the City regarding the use of the funds.

“I am very happy that they are there, assisting the City Government of Cebu in finishing our hospital,” he said.

On the other hand, Pesquera said it is common for private donors to want a “naming right” on projects they help finance, hence the need for a tripartite agreement to ensure the interest of all parties are properly documented and consolidated.

Pesquera said the City Council has to follow the money trail, assuring that the funds intended for the CCMC are accounted for and liquidated.

She said the P20 million collected from the “Piso mo, hospital ko” program will be used for the procurement of passenger and service elevators.

If there will be money left, she said it will use to improve the ramp leading to the seventh floor.

As chairperson of the committees on health and women and family affairs, Pesquera said the CCMC should have a Pink Room and Violet Room.

The pink room is a specialized facility for victims of rape and abuse for the medical experts to assess and diagnose them, while the Violet Room is a behavioral unit facility for those who are in need of help regarding mental health.

These facilities will help decongest the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) that caters to the entire province.

“We are so big, we are prime city, highly urbanized and then wala tay atoa (we don’t have our own Pink and Violet Rooms). Although naa tay kaduolan sa karon pero lahi ragyud nang atoa (Although there is the VSMMC, it’s different for Cebu City to have its own facilities),” said Pesquera.

A proposed ordinance regarding the institutionalization of residency program for doctors has already been submitted to the council, she said, adding that a number of doctors enrolled in the program has already identified. / EHP, JPS

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