Cebu Provincial Board gives nod to P1.3 billion loan with DBP for 20-storey resource center project
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has authorized the provincial government through Governor Hilario Davide III to enter into a loan agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the construction of the 20-storey modern resource center at the Capitol grounds in uptown Cebu City.
The PB, during its regular session on Monday, January 28, voted 9-4 with one abstention to pass in third and final reading the ordinance authored by fourth district PB Member Horacio Franco that allowed the province to secure the P1.3 billion loan needed to build the edifice.
Those who voted for the ordinance along with Franco were PB Members Raul Bacaltos (first district), , Jose Mari Salvador (second district), Jude Thaddeus Durano-Sybico and Miguel Antonio Magpale (fifth district), Jerome Christian Librando (seventh district), and ex-officio PB Members Celestino Martinez III (Liga ng mga Barangay), Earl Tidy Oyas (Philippine Councilors League) and Jerico Rubio (Sangguniang Kabataan).
Those who opposed the loan ordinance were PB Members Yolanda Daan (first district), Edsel Galeos (second district), Victoria Corominas-Toribio and Alex Binghay (third district). Seventh district Board Member Christopher Barricuatro abstained from voting.
The PB’s nod would likely pave the way for Capitol to enter into a contact with the qualified bidder for the project.
The PB had turned down in December last year Davide’s request for an authority to sign the contract with WT Construction, the bidder that was qualified by the Bids and Awards Committee to construct the building, as there was no approved appropriation budget for the project at that time.
But hours before Monday’s session, businessman Crisologo Saavedra filed a complaint before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas against Davide and the members of the provincial government’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for alleged violation of the bidding procedure.
Saavedra accused the BAC of allegedly conniving with WT Construction in “doctoring” documents to qualify the construction firm for the project.
Saavedra insisted the company is not qualified to handle the project as it allegedly lacked the techinical capability to build the resource center since it has not undertaken any project of such magnitude in the past.
WT previously built the controversial P800-million Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) that has since fallen into ruins after it was damaged by the 2013 earthquake, and was eventually sold by the province to Mandaue City for a fraction of what it cost to build.
Saavedra, on the other hand, is no stranger to filing charges against government officials.
He also sued then governor and now third district Representative Gwendolyn Garcia for the the purchase of the partly submerged in water Balili property in Naga City in 2010. The case is now pending before the Sandiganbayan.
In June 2018, he also asked the Ombudsman to investigate Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s endorsement of the Gokongwei-led Universal Hotel and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) to undertake the P18-billion joint venture project Isla dela Victoria on what used to be Kawit Island, which now formed part of the reclaimed South Road Properties (SRP). /elb
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