Cebu city to chase April 2016 World Bank deadline for CCMC

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |February 28,2015 - 01:03 AM

Mayor’s memo forms  new bidding committee; De los Santo is dropped

Cebu city would have to rush its rebidding for construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) if it wants to avail of a World Bank grant to cover 90 percent of the hospital’s P1.5 billion cost as  post-calamity assistance.

Since the World Bank special program closes by April 2016, any grant aid given can only cover what’s implemented by that deadline, said Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

The balance will then have to be covered by a loan.

The new option of applying for World Bank assistance was raised on Wednesday in the City Council, but some members had reservations about getting a loan for ten percent of the project or P120 million as a condition.

“So in the event that we apply for assistance for  P1.2 billion , 90 percent of that will be covered by the grant. But if implementation , after April 2016, is not yet finished, only what has been completed will be included in the grant,” said Cuevas based on her talks with the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Diwa said securing the loan is  a meticulous process and that even the project bidding would have to be supervised by WB representatives.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama finally signed an order creating a new Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for the CCMC project.

The special body retained its head, City Engineer Jose Marie Poblete as chairman.

Two former members are no longer are part of it – Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, who used to represent the mayor as “end user representative” and city assessor Ferdinand Canete, who begged off for “personal and health reasons.”

The vice chairman is lawyer Jose Daluz III.   CCMC director for medical services Dr. Gloria Duterte replaces De los Santos, who was considered unqualified because she doesn’t hold a plantilla position.

Other members are lawyer Dominic Dino, Dr. Daisy Villa, Marietta Gumia and city attorney Jerone Castillo.  Castillo replaced Cañete.

The Feb. 18 memo gave no specific reason for the change other than  citing “the exigency of the service” although the mayor earlier explained to reporters that he wanted a  a fresh start so that all qualified contractotors and bidders can participate after he declared a failure of bidding last Dec. 18, 2014.

Poblete said he would convene the body soon to get started with the rebidding.

“I’ll inquire with the mayor’s office how to go about it if we’ll use the old amount or the entire amount. We’ll also discuss with the treasure and budget officer,” Poblete said

The mayor declared a failure of bidding in December last year, after the lowest bidder WTG Construction and Manila-based  A.M. Oreta was post-disqualified for having an “unresponsive” bid after discrepancies were found in its bid documents.

Cuevas, in an interview, said the Cebu City Government can still apply for a World Bank (WB) grant and loan even if it lacks a Seal of Good Housekeeping.

She said Land Bank representatives said exceptions can be made for those availing of the grant after being hit by a calamity.

“That was my first question to land bank. Inasmuch as this grant is for Yolanda victims, we qualify for the grant. I asked them can we qualify for the grant without the seal of good housekeeping, they said they will still talk, but for them it’s not needed since this is for a calamity,” Cuevas told reporters

She said she talked with LBP Assistant vice president Elsie Tagupa.

City Hall’s executive department is eyeing a P120 million loan from the LBP which is ten percent of the estimated total cost for the project.

The proposal was raised by Councilor Noel Wenceslao.  The loan will allow the city to avail of a grant from the WB under its Support for Strategic Local Development and Investment Project (SSLDIP). The grant will cover the remaining 90 percent of the project’s estimated cost.

The SSLDIP is aimed to finance the reconstruction, rehabilitation, expansion and upgrading of basic local infrastructure in local government units affected by calamities like super typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013.

Wenceslao said the city shouldn’t just look at the loan but at the larger coverage of the grant.

Councilor Margarita Osmena said the council already appropriated P600 million for the P1.5 billion project, and suggested that a World Bank grant or loan could be used for other needs of the city.

Cuevas said the city government has funds for the CCMC.

“I’m the treasurer. Some of the appropriation in the annual budget are still for collection. As to funds availability, it’s not just cash on bank. It also refers to receivables like business taxes and Real Property Taxes. There’s still the sale of lots of the  SRP. They all comprise funds. Why would they say there’s no money? Karon, wala pa. (For now, it’s not there). But I’m very confident I can  collect this because I observed that we really have bigger daily collection for Real Property Taxes,” she explained.

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