P18M portalet rent budget scrapped

Too costly. Portalets and portabaths were ubiquitous at billeting schools during the Central Visayas Regional Athletics Association sports meet, which the Cebu City Government hosted earlier in May. On Tuesday, May 28, 2024, Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin announces that the City will not be spending P18 million to rent portable toilets for the Palarong Pambansa 2024, saying it is not “economically, financially and technically feasible.” Cebu City is hosting the Palaro in July. / AMPER CAMPAÑA
Too costly. Portalets and portabaths were ubiquitous at billeting schools during the Central Visayas Regional Athletics Association sports meet, which the Cebu City Government hosted earlier in May. On Tuesday, May 28, 2024, Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin announces that the City will not be spending P18 million to rent portable toilets for the Palarong Pambansa 2024, saying it is not “economically, financially and technically feasible.” Cebu City is hosting the Palaro in July. / AMPER CAMPAÑA
inspection. Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia (left) returns to the Cebu City Sports Center on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, to inspect the ongoing civil works at the facility, which is the main venue for the Palarong Pambansa in July. / AMPER CAMPAÑA
inspection. Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia (left) returns to the Cebu City Sports Center on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, to inspect the ongoing civil works at the facility, which is the main venue for the Palarong Pambansa in July. / AMPER CAMPAÑA

THE Cebu City Government will no longer spend P18 million to rent portalets and portabaths for the Palarong Pambansa 2024.

In a press conference of Tuesday, May 28, Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia said he sent a letter to the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) on Monday, May 27, to formalize the cancellation of the procurement process.

Garcia said renting portalets and portabaths with showers was not “economically, financially and technically feasible.”

In his letter to BAC, he canceled the rental of 248 portalets and 230 portabaths that were requested by the Local School Board.

“Prangka-prangka nga pagka-istorya (To be frank), I let them review it once again kon unsa man ang (to determine what is) necessary and needed,” he said.

He said he expects the executive committee to come up with new recommendations to address the matter.

“I am not saying nga dili na ta mo-rent og (that the City won’t be renting) portalets, but what I am saying is it’s going to be much, much less,” he said.

Garcia cited Section 41 of Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which states that “the head of the agency reserves the right to reject any and all bids, declare a failure of bidding, or not award the contract in the following situations,” that include that the “award of the contract will not redound to the benefit of the government.”

The City Government allocated P405 million for the hosting of the annual, multi-sport event involving student-athletes from 17 regions of the country with P200 million coming from general funds and P205 million from the supplemental budget.

Last May 20, Garcia ordered the three-day suspension of all procurement processes related to the Palarong for evaluation, among which was the rental of portalets, portabaths and other items proposed by Acting Vice Mayor Donaldo Hontiveros.

Hontiveros defended the budget and the procurement, saying it would be more cost-effective to rent rather than purchase new ones.

He said the portalets and portabaths would be spread across 20 schools that would serve as billeting quarters for visiting delegates for 17 days, starting on June 30 until July 16.

The City allocated a budget of P18 million for the rental after the bidding process, which was less than the appropriated fund of P22 million.

The budget already included logistics, installation and the cleaning and maintenance of the portalets and portabaths.

Hontiveros said that if the City bought a new portalet or portabath, it would have to shell out around P75,000 to P90,000 for each unit. The amount didn’t include additional expenses like storage and maintenance, among others, he said.

Meanwhile, Garcia ordered all civil works, including the ongoing repairs and renovations at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC), to be finished before the end of June.

Garcia inspected the progress at the CCSC on Tuesday, where he expressed his gratitude to the contractors for heeding his call to expedite all repairs and renovations before the start of the games on July 6.

“I am very satisfied and happy kay dako kaayo diperensya (there has been a big difference) when I was here last time,” he said.

“Kinahanglan mahuman na ni kay mao baya ni ang venue sa atoang opening (This has to be finished because this is where the opening will be held),” he added.

The City shut down the CCSC in May 2023, citing renovation and repair works to prepare for its hosting of the Palaro. The 400-meter rubberized track oval, though, remains unfinished.

Garcia said the work on the track oval is already in the second phase, with the installation of the rubber dust or rubberized powder ongoing, following the completion of the first layer, which was the asphalt.

The next and final stage will be the installation of the rubber on top of the rubber dust.

He said the contractor promised him that the entire curing process would take 37 days before the newly refurbished track oval could be used.

Garcia said they have not made any provisions to transfer the venue of the Palaro’s opening ceremony if something untoward happens.

Last Monday night, the Cebu City Government led by Garcia officially teamed up with the Provincial Government, the Mandaue City Government and the Lapu-Lapu City Government with the signing of a memorandum of collaboration to help promote sports tourism during the Palarong Pambansa.

He said tourism officers from each party would meet and come up with “Sports Tourism” packages for visiting delegates and their families, such as hotel promos and discounts on food, among others.

Garcia said there is a possibility that Mandaue City will host several games such as sepak takraw and arnis, while the finals of the basketball competition may be held at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City.

“These are the things nga amo gisabotan pero (that we discussed but) you know kutob pa to istorya (nothing is on paper), wala pa to na (nothing is) finalize. And next Monday, we will be finalizing it because every Monday we have a meeting with the Palaro Committee,” the acting mayor said.

The City earlier approved a P400 million budget for the staging of the largest sporting event in the country.

Cebu City first hosted the Palarong Pambansa in 1954 and again in 1994. / EHP

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