Mayor to City Council: Don’t meddle; Rama’s choices for bid committee out today
NEW BID PANEL FOR CCMC
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was annoyed yesterday over the City Council’s call to hold off the rebidding of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) amid questions on funding and its earlier failure of bidding.
Rama said they shouldn’t meddle with the work of a chief executive.
He announced that a special Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) would be created for the hospital project that will tap a bigger budget of at least P600 million.
He named City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo as its head. Castillo also heads the revamped BAC for Infrastructure announced by the mayor a week ago.
Rama lashed out at media reports that two members of the previous BAC, Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos and Engr. Jose Marie Poblete, were dropped.
The two had voted for the disqualification of the lowest bidder WTG Construction-A.M. Oreta last November due to falsification of bid documents and other discrepancies, a decision the mayor concurred with before issuing a memo on Dec. 18 declaring a failure of bidding, and saying he would “revise” the BAC’s composition and terms of bid documents.
The new BAC for infrastructure announced last week by the mayor no longer included the two members.
But Rama says he will still appoint a second bids committee just for the hospital.
“I will repeat. The council is the council. The mayor is the mayor, mandated to do his duties and responsibility to manage the city. The council does not manage the city,” Rama told reporters yesterday.
Rama said he wants a “special, separate” BAC to focus on the CCMC project and would announce its members in a press conference today.
He said the legal office would review a list of candidates who are “legally qualified” to sit in the special BAC for CCMC.
After the names are shortlisted, Rama is expected to announce his appointees.
“I want that matter handled by them so that tomorrow (today). He (Castillo) has to help me decide who should be retained, who should not etc. I need to be guided so that there will be no more views that will be exchanged by different personalities,” Rama said.
In a privilege speech last Wednesday, Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. said he was worried about the funding for the new hospital.
He pointed out that the P300 million appropriated by the City Council in a supplemental budget last year was used last December by the administration to pay the last installment of cash aid to senior citizens as well as cash incentives for barangay officials.
Another P300 million for the CCMC project was included in this year’s annual budget of P13.4 billion for Cebu City but tax revenues and other sources have not yet been collected, he said, citing reports of the treasurer’s collection for January.
What funds are really available?
Castillo, the new BAC chairman, said he checked with City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas and was told the city already has around P1.4 billion cash in the bank.
“We sincerely appreciate the council,” said Castillo, “but with due respect to them, their work is limited to appropriation. They did appropriate P600 million for the project. As to who should provide and collect the funds, we should leave it to the treasurer whose responsibility under the Local Government Code is to raise the funds.”
Based on the treasurer’s assurance that there’s P1.4 billion cash in the bank, said Castillo, “there’s no need to stop the project on the basis of fears that we don’t have funds.”
He said the City Treasurer’s Office still has time to raise more funds with 10 months left in the year.
The Rama administration is also counting on donation pledges from Filipino communities in the United States and the SM Group of Companies which promised to donate P1 billion.
Castillo said SM pledged around P200 million for the construction of the hospital’s ground floor.
On the changes in the BAC, Castillo said the mayor, as head of the procuring entity, has the prerogative to form a separate BAC.
The mayor’s order was to review the composition and functions of the new CCMC ad hoc committee.
“If the functions are still within conformity to my directive as mayor, then there is nothing to change. But if there are some functions there that I feel would need to change so that it cannot cause some misapprehensions, have it rectified,” Rama said.
Castillo said the mayor’s option to create a separate bidding committee for the CCMC hospital project was covered in Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Under Section 11, “Alternatively, as may be deemed fit by the head of the procuring entity, there may be separate BACs where the number and complexity of the items to be procured shall so warrant.
Similar BACs for decentralized and lower level offices may be formed when deemed necessary by the head of the procuring entity.”
Castillo said he would tell the mayor who in the chief’s shortlist are qualified to sit in the special BAC.
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